Occupational Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Patients | Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital

Hello, my name is Leslie and I’m an occupational
therapist at SKY Rehab Hospital. April is OT Month and today, I’m going to
share with you how being an occupational therapist can impact the recovery of a patient with
a spinal cord injury. As an occupational therapist, we first review
the patient’s injuries and then assess their abilities. We look at whether or not the injury is a
complete spinal cord injury which results in no muscle return or movement regained from
the level of injury and below, or is it an incomplete injury where there could be possible
muscle and nerve return sporadically. Then we will determine what that means for
the patient’s occupation. Their occupation could be getting back to
work, school or just performing their activities of daily living. As OTs, we provide adaptive equipment for
the patient to use along with teaching them compensatory strategies in order to maximize
the patient’s functional independence following an injury. We also teach them how to perform their activities
of daily living from wheelchair level, if needed. Upper extremity strengthening is also beneficial
in the rehab process so that the patient is able to move themselves and position to prevent
skin breakdown. I had a patient one time who was involved
in a tractor rollover accident and had a spinal cord injury As an OT, I was able to work with him and
his girlfriend on proper positioning to prevent sores in bed and wheelchair, also, how to
use assistive equipment to complete dressing of lower extremities that he was now unable
to reach, and how to use a sliding board to transfers by increasing his upper body strength. He was then able to return home and function
from wheelchair level. At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling
to know you’ve helped someone regain independence following a tragic accident.

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