Occupational Therapy Techniques For Stroke Patients

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

Rehabilitation is essential for patients who are trying to cope with some of the debilitating side effects of a stroke. When a person has a stroke, the brain must be re-trained to manage the simplest tasks, such as walking or eating. Occupational therapy can help you relearn those basic skills and regain your independence after a stroke.

Let’s look at some occupational therapy techniques used to help stroke victims regain abilities. Learning to cope with the physical limitations that occur following a stroke can also be addressed through occupational therapy.

<strong>The Assessment</strong>
<strong></strong>The first thing your occupational therapist will do is assess your situation. The therapist will determine a course of treatment and therapies that will help you regain strength and return to a full and independent life. The assessment will consist of a series of questions, activities and exercises that will help the therapist develop a personalized rehabilitation plan.

<strong>Activities of Daily Living</strong>
<strong></strong>The occupational therapist will focus on helping you do the things necessary to care for yourself. You may need help learning to dress or feed yourself if you have one-sided weakness. The therapist will help you with techniques that will make it possible to do those things independently or with a minimal amount of assistance. You may also need assistance with toileting and bathing. The therapist will help you modify your personal care regime to accommodate physical limitations, such as dressing your weak side first.

<strong>Food Preparation</strong>
Independent living requires the ability to prepare simple foods. Occupational therapy techniques for food preparation are usually practiced in a home-like setting within the occupational therapy center. Your therapist will help you learn to make a cup of tea or toast and eggs for breakfast. The goal is for you to be able to prepare easy meals without assistance.
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<strong>Pursuing Hobbies</strong>
<strong></strong>A full life is important following a stroke. If there were hobbies you enjoyed prior to your stroke, occupational therapy can be instrumental in helping you regain the ability to pursue your interests after you leave the hospital.

<strong>How Long Will It Take?</strong>
<strong></strong>Your occupational therapy program will be fine-tuned to meet your needs. The complexity and duration of your therapy is determined by the severity of your stroke and the resulting obstacles to your recovery. Some stroke survivors recover quickly, and others may require a longer time to regain strength and stamina. Recovering from a stroke can be a long and frustrating process. Patience and perseverance, combined with medical intervention and a good occupational therapy program can be the key to a successful recuperation.

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