Occupational therapy is an essential step along the road to recovery after a stroke.
Post stroke, you may lose the capacity to perform daily tasks, such as the ability to maintain balance, concentrate, retain information, and even reach for an object. Therefore, requiring the expertise of an occupational therapist to relearn these basic movements. The goal of the therapist is to help patients improve sensation, cognition and motor abilities that have been damaged post stroke.
This is accomplished through reprogramming parts of the brain and helping them regain muscle control. Many stroke survivors struggle to live regular lives because the skills and movements that used to be simple are now challenging. Therapists help master daily tasks like dressing, bathing, writing, driving, and cooking.
Goals of Stroke Rehabilitation
- Maximise functional independence
- Facilitate resumption of prior life roles and community reintegration
- Enhance quality of life
- Maintenance of long-term function
- Optimise psychosocial adaptation
- Prevent, recognise and manage comorbid medical conditions
What are common interventions?
- Upper Limb therapy
- Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP)
- Strengthening (Theraputty) exercises
- Repetitive Task Practice
- Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT)
- Mental Practice
- Mirror Therapy
- Interventions for sensory impairment
- Virtual Reality
- Compensatory strategies
- Modified equipment aids
- Adapting task, changing /breaking down steps of each task
What is Upper Limb Therapy?
Upper limb therapy is to assist in maximising arm and hand function after experiencing an injury or traumatic event.
The most common reason for when upper limb therapy is required is for when someone has experienced a stroke. The effects of stroke on the upper extremities are a major cause of functional impairment.
Impairment of the upper extremity often leads to loss of independence with activities of daily living and other important occupations.
Other reasons for requiring upper limb therapy may be due to arthritis, fractures, chronic pain, muscle/ligament injury.
How Therapists prepare your home for safety and the best quality of life:
- Evaluate the safety of your home and make suggestions.
- Recommend equipment that makes your home more accessible.
- Look at ways to set up your home so that you can better complete day-to-day chores.
- Demonstrate and teach you one-handed techniques to do things like getting dressed, opening packages, preparing food, and using your computer.
- Instruct your family or caregivers on how best to help you regain your independence and participate in the activities you enjoy.
What are common modes of assessment?
- Manual muscle test
- Range of motion
- Pinch and grip strength
- 9-hole peg test
Written By Sarah Fleming