Preparing For Your First Occupational Therapy Session

Proper preparation and conditioning is very important especially for patients who are going to have their first session with their occupational therapist. Being a bit anxious and afraid is a common reaction but you can overcome this once you know what to expect during your first visit with your occupational therapist. To understand and know the things that may happen during the first visit with an occupational therapist, it is important to know first what occupational therapists do.

Occupational therapists (OT) have somehow the same functions and responsibilities with physical therapists or PT. They are somewhat the same in the sense that both health care professions are focused on helping and treating people to recover from physical injuries, and mental and social disabilities. Occupational therapists or OT usually focus on treating neuromuscular and neurological injuries, hand extremity injuries, upper extremity injuries, spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis, recovery from stroke, and brain injury.

Occupational therapists also aim to help people recover from physical disorders that may affect their daily functioning and activities. When visiting an occupational therapist, expect common treatments and therapy programs like exercise programs, skill trainings, splint fabrication, wound care management, and work modifications. During your first visit, expect various exercises and treatments like strengthening programs, exercises to improve range of motion, work simulation exercises, muscle re-education, sensory re-education and desensitization, and exercises to improve daily living skills.

Every patient has varying conditions, needs, body structures and rehabilitation abilities. That is why therapy programs may vary from patient to patient. Each session may last from 1 to 2 hours or even more depending on the situation or condition of the patient, and the specific treatment program applied to the patient. It is important that patients are really willing to undergo the treatment program in order for the treatment to be more effective and for better results.

On your first visit with your occupational therapist, make sure to bring your referral note from your physician and other necessary documents advised by your physician to present to your occupational therapist. These documents may include information about your medical history, condition and treatment information. Make sure also to wear a comfortable cloth, preferable a comfortable T-shirt that is loose fitting especially if it has sleeves. Answer the questions honestly and follow the instructions provided by your occupational therapist properly and accurately. You should also expect little pain and discomfort from the first visit especially if you are being treated due to physical injury.

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