April is National Occupational Therapy Month — Honoring Occupational Therapists During COVID-19
“Occupational Therapy. Hopeless into hope. Can’t into can. Impossible into possible.” Valerie Pena
As in every part of life right now, Occupational Therapists must rise to the challenge of doing the jobs they love amid the coronavirus pandemic. What is occupational therapy? What are the special challenges Occupational Therapists face in the current COVID-19 environment?
According to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), “Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.”¹
So, how important is occupational therapy? AOTA.org continues:
- Reducing the likelihood of hospitalization or readmission¹
- Improving resistance to infection via movement and activities proven to enhance immunity¹
- Combatting disruptions to mood as a result of social isolation¹
- Promoting participation in education, play, and learning in the home or school¹
It is clear then that delays and cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak could have critical results for patients needing occupational therapy for help with such things as post-stroke recovery or in coping with the results of an injury.
But, what are the challenges for occupational therapists during the pandemic? As with all health professionals, the need and availability of protective personal equipment are important as therapists keep themselves and others safe from the virus. Also, practitioners may need to look into other options if in-person visits are not an option. For example, telehealth is becoming popular with many health professionals in dealing with the need for social distance. However, not all insurance will accept this form of a patient visit. Also, according to AOTA.org, not all states permit telehealth, so, the therapist would have to spend some time verifying if this would even be an option for them and their clients.¹
Occupational therapists provide an important service in our communities. As WFOT.org explains, they help people do what “they need to, want to and are expected to do.”²
We salute you all as we join in saying thank you for what you do!
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. Graham-Field product brands include Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, Intensa, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 1.770.368.4700.