What is Occupational Therapy?

Chances are you may have never heard of occupational therapy.  Unless you have gone through rehabilitation after an injury or illness or know someone with different abilities who went through therapy growing up, occupational therapy is one of those specialized healthcare professions that is still gaining momentum in the mainstream conversation of society.

Nevertheless, ask an occupational therapy practitioner or student (or a consumer who has had experience with occupational therapy) and you are sure to hear about all of the wonderful roles that OT plays in healthcare and in society.  Many of these definitions are based on the personal and professional experiences of these advocates.

Occupational therapy is a vital healthcare profession because occupational therapy practitioners understand that learning what motivates people helps us understand how to help people live the most fulfilling version of their lives. 

Occupational therapy practitioners understand that participating in meaning activities and occupations is at the core of the human experience.  That is why therapeutic engagement in occupations is at the core of occupational therapy practice and is the distinct value of occupational therapy.  Occupational therapy is informed by occupational science, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, anthropology, sociology, and more.

Occupational therapy practitioners understand that human beings are “doers” and that the meaning and purpose of life can often times be found in what people do; therefore, when people experience an accident/illness/injury that prevents “doing” the effects can be devastating.  Occupational therapy practitioners are trained to work with individuals to restore function and teach compensatory techniques to facilitate a person’s return to the highest level of independence to “do” for themselves once again in the person’s “new normal”.  In the case of children who are born with a disability, occupational therapy practitioners work with the child and family from the child’s birth to support the best quality of life, development, and functional abilities.

One of my favorite quotes to sum up occupational therapy came from Ginny Stoffel when she stated:

“Occupational therapy practitioners ask, “what matters to you” not, “what’s the matter with you?”” ~ Ginny Stoffel, AOTA Past President

The following definition is from the World Federation of Occupational Therapy:

Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement. (WFOT, 2012)

For more information, visit: the World Federation of Occupational Therapy website

Where Can I Get a Shower Chair?!

Getting and finding the durable medical equipment (DME) can be a challenge… here is a PDF for the current equipment lending closets/programs in Southern Arizona.

I currently work in the home health setting with primarily older adults and many of our clients are in need of affordable options for durable medical equipment. Insurance companies, including Medicare (what Medicare covers), cover SOME equipment, but many times clients and their family members are left with the responsibility and task of figuring out what equipment the client needs and how to get it. Additionally, for insurance and Medicare to cover the equipment, the clients must meet very specific criteria and have a physician prescription (in most cases).

Anyway, I put together a list of the lending closets and programs in Southern Arizona which will hopefully benefit consumers and providers in the area. Enjoy!

Southern Arizona Lending Closet Resource

*Disclaimer* The contents of this post are not a substitute for medical advice from your healthcare professional.

Meet Heidi

Heidi Carpenter, OTD, OTR/L, Pn1

Heidi Carpenter is a native of Arizona and grew up in Gilbert.  She completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Northern Arizona University in 2009 and earned her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, December 2014.

Following graduation, she completed a year-long pediatric residency program with Creighton University where she received additional training in outpatient pediatric and school-based settings and was the lab assistant for the pediatric coursework for the entry-level OTD students.

Heidi moved back to Arizona in January 2016 and is currently working in home health.  Heidi founded Embody Occupational Therapy, LLC in March 2018 and has been steadily growing EmbodyOT ever since.  Her true passion project, has focused on individualized therapeutic yoga instruction for her clients, as well as, begun to write the EmbodyOT blog.

Stay tuned because many exciting projects are underway at EmbodyOT (some too secret to announce)!

Contact Heidi

Selected Certifications 

Board Certified Occupational Therapist

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification

In Progress…

200 hour yoga teacher training (anticipated completion March 2020)

Certified Brain Injury Specialist (anticipated completion 2020)

Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (anticipated completion 2020)

Car Yoga

Recently, I had the privilege of sharing my passion for yoga with my colleagues and they asked if I would teach a class at work.  Of course I jumped on this opportunity and I wanted to tailor this class specifically for their needs…

Many of us in the home health world spend HOURS a day driving and this can REALLY take a toll on the body (and mind).  Therefore, I developed a self-practice guide with a yoga flow specifically designed to counteract the effects of prolonged driving.

Please let me know if you have any questions/comments/suggestions/concerns!

Namaste,

Heidi

 

Yoga as a Modality for Occupational Therapy

Yoga has been one of my passions ever since my mother and I started practicing when I was in high school.  To me, yoga has always been a clarifying activity for me and I have also felt that practicing yoga is a life-long journey.

As I grew up, went to college, and finally to more college to become an occupational therapist, I kept yoga in my routine.  I believe that yoga practice can be tremendously supportive to anyone because it fits into all different lifestyles for people of all ages.  Yoga is a personal journey and people find meaning in yoga practice for many different reasons.

When I became an occupational therapist I learned how yoga principles and philosophy can compliment the framework of occupational therapy.  I view yoga as a modality that can be used as a meaningful activity to help people achieve wellness and lifestyle goals.  During OT school, I was blessed to be able to complete a research project with one of my professors where we starting using the term “occupation-based yoga, or OBY” and it was during this time that I learned some of the many “occupation-based” reasons people seek yoga out.

Top “occupation-based” reasons people seek yoga:

  • For improved sleep
  • For improvement of pain so that they are able to participate in work and leisure activities
  • For improved focus so that they are able to engage in high-level cognitive tasks

To learn more check out the following resources:

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