If you’re seeking Occupational Therapy, you’re usually motivated by a desire to get rid of aches and pains or get back to living your life and doing the things you love. Possibly, you are even looking to delay surgery or avoid it altogether.
Your pain, aches or limited mobility could stem from an illness or accident, they can result from an injury, or recovery from surgery. No matter the cause, your priority is to get back to the pain-free “normal” and to feel like you felt before the incident leading to trauma.
But what happens if your experience at an Occupational Therapy clinic doesn’t meet your expectations?
You guessed it – it can slow down or adversely impact your healing process. This situation often happens in a “big box” practice where Occupational Therapy involves offering patients a one-size-fits-all treatment plan instead of individual and personal care.
This blog will outline what’s common in the industry and why seeking out personalized Occupational Therapy is a better option for your recovery. Once you understand the value of personalized OT in five key areas ( crucial to your recovery) you will be able to make informed decisions that can significantly benefit your health.
Difference 1: Time – How Much Time Does Your Current OT Spent with You?
Healthcare providers which are looking to cut costs starting with the amount of time they spend with patients is a no-go. Personalized Occupational Therapy CAN’T BE DONE PROPERLY if you only interact with your Occupational Therapist for 10 minutes.
If your goal is to discover the root cause of the pain and create a strategy to eliminate the pain, and then prevent it from returning, then you are going to need more time with your Occupational Therapist.
Difference 2: The Appointment Agenda
An Occupational Therapist who lacks skills or is being pressured to boost the bottom line of practice may give you the same set of exercises week in and week out. You will be left alone to do them while your OT assists other clients.
In the personalized Occupational Therapy space, this is a no-no. You should not be sitting by yourself in an OT office doing exercises that could be in the comfort of your home. A professional Occupational Therapist will always ensure that your appointment is productive and focused solely on your treatments.
It is ideal when your Occupational Therapy appointments include a combination of the following:
- Your health history intake & a discussing about your health goals
- Demonstrations of how to do specific movements
- Advice on lifestyle adjustments and specific strategies to prevent injuries
- Hands-on assistance
- Situation-specific exercises
Difference 3: The Focus of the Appointment
The problem with a rushed Occupational Therapy provider in a big box setting is that they may be myopically focused on addressing only your pain symptoms.
Instead, the approach to your problem & to your health should be holistic. Only this way it will lead to improvement of your overall health. A holistic approach allows us to set goals beyond the immediate need to alleviate pain – it will also help with strengthening the whole muscle groups so that you are less prone to injury.
If there is an event coming up that you’d like to attend but are currently unable due to your pain or decreased mobility – we will address that, too, and help you regain your mobility!
Difference 4: The Ability to Change Course
OT practitioners at big box clinics usually use specific treatment plans, which tend to be unwavering. In contrast, personalized Occupational Therapy sets the patient in the center of attention and makes the patient’s experience the top priority. So instead of following a previously set agenda, your therapist are likely to ask you questions like:
– “How are you feeling today?” (And they’ll genuinely mean it!)
– “Has anything changed since your last appointment?”
– “Is there anything that you feel we could be doing better during our treatment sessions?”
– “Do you feel like the progress you are making is adequate?
– “Are your goals being met?”
Surely, having a detailed treatment plan is a must. However, it’s also important to be able to recognize when the approach or techniques need to be adjusted to give you – the patient – the greatest chance of a full recovery.
Difference 5: The Commitment to Educational Excellence
Occupational Therapists are all required to participate in continuing education classes to maintain their licenses. OTs passionate about their calling take CE hours because they want to, not because they have to.
Staying up to date on the development of new treatment and therapy options is the goal of continuing education, but Occupational Therapists can also dedicate time to learning about the latest health care research. Additionally, some OTs will also choose to gain additional knowledge and training, e.g. about best practices in patient communication or innovative approaches to dealing with acute or chronic pain.
Choosing the Right Occupational Therapist
Now that you know the signs to look out for, you’ll be better equipped to choose an Occupational Therapist who is best suited to address your injury. And, if you’re already an Occupational Therapy patient, you’ll understand what red flags might prompt you to find a new clinic.
To get in touch with a specialized Occupational Therapist that puts your needs first, contact Hands-on Therapy Services at 786-615-9879 to schedule an appointment.
Hoang Tran is a certified hand therapist , the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems, because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).
The aim of her Miami occupational therapy practice is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
If you are struggling with hand and wrist pain, including
or any other hand, elbow or neck injuries, speak with one of our specialists for FREE by signing up for a 30-minute Discovery Visit here! Talk to our specialist first before booking any paid session. We like to ensure that we can help you before taking you on as a client.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.