Occupational therapists (OTs) help people of all ages participate in the activities they want and need to do in life. They use everyday activities, or occupations, as the therapeutic foundation of treatment. For instance, activities include, but are not limited to, job tasks, self-care tasks, and leisure activities. Occupational therapy helps people improve function in all of their environments including home, work, school, and community. They address the physical, psychological, cognitive, and cultural aspects of a person’s well-being through engagement in occupation.
In order to promote physical and emotional health and wellness, OTs are trained to comprehensively assess each person and their lifestyle. The assessment includes evaluating daily roles, routines, activities, and habits, and identifying barriers to participating fully in daily life. Our occupational therapists then develop and implement a customized treatment plan based on each individual’s goals and barriers, designed to help each person reach their optimal functional ability in order to live their life to its fullest.
Hand therapy specializes in injuries and conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow. Our hand therapists work in close connection with physicians and surgeons to determine the person’s readiness for best success. Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) provide hand therapy services. They have extensive training and experience in the field of hand therapy. Additionally, CHTs are occupational therapists who have successfully achieved Hand Therapy Certification by demonstrating the highest level of competency in the profession.
Occupational therapists are trained to use a variety of techniques. Techniques include functional training/retraining for daily activities, manual therapy, strengthening and exercise, pain management, instruction in ergonomics, body mechanics, and injury prevention. Additionally, your occupational therapist is an educated medical professional that has completed advance levels of education (masters or doctoral degree). Lastly, our occupational therapists passed a national board certification exam and are licensed to practice occupational therapy in Washington state.
Occupational therapists participate in a multidisciplinary team approach to provide Work Conditioning programs to injured workers. Work Conditioning is a structured therapy program that focuses on improving strength, endurance, activity tolerance, and body mechanics. Ultimately, the goal is to identify and enhance physical abilities, while assisting the injured worker in returning to his or her job.
An Ergonomic Assessment may assist in reducing stress and strain placed on the human body. The assessment will evaluate a person’s “fit” to his or her workplace. Most importantly, an Ergonomic Assessment can enhance success in returning to work or maintain work ability. Suggestions may include providing recommendations on modifying workstation setup or by modifying workplace tools. The recommendations are used to best match a person’s body positioning and accommodate for any reduced ability for that person to successfully perform the job task.
The Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is an important tool used to determine safe functional levels of an individual. It can be used to assist with return-to-work planning or to determine functional tolerances and abilities for future vocational planning. Testing provides a comprehensive evaluation that measures strength, endurance, material handling, physical demand work levels, and positional tolerances. The data gathered through this evaluation objectively defines a person’s physical capabilities.