This year, significant changes are taking place in healthcare. For occupational therapists, this means saying goodbye to some practices and welcoming new ones. Here are the most popular trending topics in occupational therapy today.
Active Patient Participation
Forming new habits and changing behaviors is a hot topic in many disciplines. Real change is possible when people take ownership of their own lives. This wisdom applies to occupational therapy patients as well. Improvement is possible when patients stop being passive recipients of information and become active participants in their care.
Numerous studies are demonstrating that the passive reception of healthcare, no matter who is delivering the care, is not enough for real improvement. Patients must be engaged in the process. Patients must find answers to their problems through a trial-and-error process and allow occupational therapists to serve as their guides during the journey.
When you consider occupational therapy, the use of smart technology is probably not the first clinical modality that comes to mind. In daily practice, we tend to associate occupational therapy with low-tech devices such as sock aids and TheraPutty. However, new technological advancements are helping patients enjoy a better quality of life.
Smart health tags attach to a patient’s clothing and monitor breathing patterns, stress, sleep, heart rate and activity level. Biometric data allows an occupational therapist to monitor therapy strategies such as energy conservation and work simplification for measurable improvements.
3D virtual environments provide a stimulating rehab setting for patients. They adjust to the preferences of the patient and motivate them to get the maximum benefit from their training regimens. Real-time feedback allows patients to monitor their performance.
Repetition counters resemble pedometers and measure repetitions of arm movement. These devices can distinguish between arm swings and intentional repetitions. They also count repetitions and users can create challenges for motivation to help them increase their daily repetitions.
There is a tendency to use bottom-up assessments as the go-to option while looking at functional improvement through observation alone. Most clinical trials use function-based assessments as their primary outcome measurement to gauge functional improvement beyond the walls of the clinic. It is time for occupational therapists to utilize the multiple function-based evaluations that are available.
Possibly the most vital skill an occupational therapist can develop in the coming years is the ability to work across multiple disciplines. Occupational therapists must go beyond collaboration with co-workers and include professionals from various disciplines for better treatment outcomes. Working in partnership with a full healthcare team will be crucial for improving patient care.
Want to Advance Your Career in Occupational Therapy?
If you are an occupational therapist with a desire to grow in your profession, check out what GHR can do for you. Search postings, submit your resume and let their experienced team of recruiters help you find an occupational therapy position that fits your lifestyle and career goals.