Occupational Therapists' Critical Role in Stroke Patient Recovery
Occupational therapists specialize in myriad of focuses that help improve the physical, mental, and emotional state of the people they work with to help them live their lives to the fullest.
This is also the case for patients who have suffered a stroke.
Dr. Shannon Martin, Director of the School of Occupational Therapy, is also a certified stroke rehabilitation therapist. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, she discussed how occupational therapists play a critical role in the recovery process of patients who have suffered a stroke.
“Occupational therapists play a crucial role for all individuals after a stroke by helping them to regain independence in activities of daily living, improve cognition and promote emotional well-being,” she said.
Dr. Martin added that OTs focus on helping people regain skills or learn new adaptive strategies for all activities they want to engage in, such as dressing, bathing, grooming, eating, or returning to work or school.
“OT’s can also utilize specialized techniques to promote the return of motor skills to affected limbs after the stroke,” she said.
Erica Budds, a third-year occupational therapy student, is focusing her doctoral capstone project on working with rehabilitation intervention methods for individuals who have suffered a stroke.
“Occupational therapists can make a huge difference in the lives of individuals who have suffered a stroke by collaborating with them to create meaningful goals toward regaining or adapting skills for participation in daily tasks,” she said. “We have a focus on function and independence.”
Dr. Martin said working with patients who have suffered a stroke is another example of how occupational therapists help patients live their lives with the highest possible functional performance.
“Occupational therapy is a catalyst for rebuilding lives after stroke by restoring independence and regaining functional abilities,” she said. “Through meaningful engagement in daily activities and holistic, client-centered interventions, occupational therapy empowers stroke survivors to adapt to new realities and overcome challenges.”