My grandparents have always lived near our home and majority of the weekends used to spent with them. As a child, I did not understand why my parents kept insisting that they should not fail to go for their occupational therapy sessions. This aroused my curiosity which grew into an obsession regarding occupational therapy. I was never able to attend to any of their sessions but watching the vigor from my grandparents following the occupation therapy sessions, I became inclined to be an occupation therapist.
It is after I joined under graduate that I had the chance to conduct an observation of an occupation therapy session among the elderly. This was done under the direction of an occupational therapist that was certified. The information documented during the observation is presented as follows:
- Occupational Therapy Setting:
- Population consisted of the elderly people both men and women with age degenerative disorders, and mental disorders associated with age.
- The reason for the occupation therapy was promote independence and increase the quality of life among the elderly.
- The session was mainly treatment based.
- Activities selected during the treatment process: safety, memory skills training, elimination continence training, interventions for low vision, and mobility devices like walkers.
- Areas addressed in the treatment were: use of adaptive equipments like eye glasses, energy preservation, psychosocial needs, and their safety.
- The goals of the sessions were: to facilitate independence in performance of activities of daily living, and to enhance the quality of life.
- The focus of the treatment was to improve the limitations they faced with aging. I would observe that the occupational therapist was laying more emphasis on the conditions or impairments that would inhibit their ability to perform activities of daily living. This was achieved through modification of activities like reading and writing where a book would be read out for them. To adapt to memory loss, the occupational therapist assisted them keep things near to where they sat. Incontinence that accompanies old age was encountered by encouraging them to eliminate frequently even when there is no urge to eliminate. This was aimed at limiting their dependence on other people to assist them, and enhance their independence.
- The treatment approach being used was the environmental adaptation approach as the elderly were being adapted to effectively manage with aging process.
- This treatment fits in the environmental modification category.
- The occupation therapist interacted with the medical officer especially if the client had an underlying medical condition.
- He also consulted with other therapists like speech therapists, ophthalmology therapists, and auditory therapist.
- The occupation therapist also interacted with the counselors especially for conditions that could only be sustained with palliative care.
- Therapy Sessions:
- Observations/Interactions With Other Professionals in regard to patient treatment:
- How did the client respond to the treatment session?
- Occupation therapist acknowledged the autonomy of the elderly in the choice of activities the client preferred to encourage the client to participate in the therapy.
- Both verbal and gestures were used to communicate effectively with the patient. Translation was also done for those who could not understand English.
- The client was motivate to participate through acknowledgement if they did well and possible reward there after.
- The overall effect of the treatment session was beneficial to the client. This is since majority of them were able to overcome their limitations and adapt in ways of performing activities of daily living. They voiced independence in grooming, toileting, and elimination.
- How does what you observed relate to “occupation”? How does it relate to the literature that describes this practice area and/or occupational therapy’s role?
What I observed relates to occupation since it was aimed at enabling the elderly perform activities that they were previously limited or challenged in their performance especially the activities of daily living.
The role of the occupation therapist in literature was met since the therapist assisted the clients compensate and adjust to the changes that came with old age. Consequently, the occupation therapists were able to analysis the mental, psychosocial, environmental factors that posed as barriers, challenging the elderly, and come up with adaptation measures. In addition, the occupation therapist focused on the strengths of the client, while minimizing his limitations.
- Summarize the role of OT in this setting:
The role of occupation therapy has been cited as enabling the individuals to have productive, independent, and satisfying lives. This role was effectively and efficiently met in the setting since it was aimed at improving the quality of life if the elderly client, but focusing on their independence.
The role of occupation therapy in this setting was aimed at involving the clients as partners and as specialists in the maintenance and the improvement in their quality of care. The role of occupation therapy in this setting was also aimed at addressing communication, trade of ideas, and aimed at providing realistic solutions to the elderly.
- What particularly did you learn that you didn’t know before?
- What caught my attention was that majority of the elderly people were in denial of the loss of ability to perform the activities they previously performed competently.
- What I found interesting was that those who accepted that age had its limitations and followed the specifications stipulated by the occupational therapist had high esteem. This was interesting as majority of them would want to prove that they can now do what previously they were not able to do like read a book, and eliminate unaided.
- Dementia- degenerative mental disorder among the elderly characterized by memory loss.
- Professional terms/language that needed further clarification
The occupation therapy setting that I observed pertained to the elderly. The population setting was ideal for the observation as it pertained to the elderly people and the challenges they face with old age. The occupation therapists played roles significant to those illustrated in literature since they were aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the elderly. This was achieved through adaptation model and modifying the activities the client carries out, to meet his altering abilities (American Occupation Therapy Association, 2008).
Consequently, the strategies used by the occupation therapists in this setting are similar to the requirements stipulated in literature pertaining to occupation therapy of the elderly. This is since the occupation therapist in this setting aimed at educating and providing support to the elderly by advising them on mitigation strategies to their shortcomings. Consequently, the occupation therapists in this setting aimed at enhancing the memory skills of the elderly, their social interaction and communication, and the continence training, the chief areas of compromise among the elderly (Glantz & Richman, 2007). In conclusion, the occupation therapist in this setting achieved the goal of their activities which literature has it as to promote independence of the elderly in the performance of activities of daily living (American Occupation Therapy Association, 2008).
In concurrence, both settings were aimed at improving the quality of life of their clients which is the main aim of occupation therapy. In both settings, the occupation therapist involved other partners inside and outside the therapy. Consequently, both settings were treatment based. The both settings employed verbal and non verbal communication.
In contrast, one setting involved the pediatrics while the other setting involved the elderly. Also, the goal of treatment was not similar in both settings; the pediatric setting was aimed at promoting enhanced attention and focus, while in the elderly it was aimed at adapting to the changing environment. The approach of treatment used in the two settings was different as the pediatric setting used the vocational training approach while the elderly setting used environment adaptation model.
American Occupational Therapy Association, (2008), Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (2nd ed). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 625-683.
Glantz, C. & Richman, N., (2007), Occupation-based, ability-centered care for people with dementia, (Electronic Version) OT Practice, 12(2), 10-16
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