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Occupational Therapy: It isn't what you think

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hospital news

Just what is “Occupational Therapy (OT)?” The name would suggest it is all about helping people recover from injuries so they can do what they need to do to get back to work. Historically, OT has never quite fit in with other rehabilitation services. Instead of simply copying physical therapy’s treatment approach, OT pulled from many different places to develop the most beneficial way to functionally all kinds of clients. In fact, OT started with mental health treatment in the 1800s.

World War I was a pivotal time for the development of occupational therapy. The US military recognized the benefit of providing OT services to those dealing with mental health and physical dysfunction challenges. During this and World War II, a great push was made for occupational therapy services to be provided to wounded soldiers. It was during this time that a drastic shift was made from simply utilizing arts and crafts to using activities of daily living in the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Today, the American Occupational Therapy Association defines OT as, “…the therapeutic use of occupations, including everyday life activities with individuals, groups, populations, or organizations to support participation, performance, and function in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings.”

VVRMC OT team Diana Wilburn, Arturo Mendiola and Cynthia Reen work with patients of all ages improving their ability to function in daily activities of living. Diana and Cynthia work with children. They work on gross motor coordination, fine motor dexterity, balance, problem solving, concentration, eye hand coordination and more. They treat a variety of issues including cognitive deficits, autism, dyslexia, downs syndrome, birth defects and more. They do all this in a playful, energetic, creative fashion to engage young patients and help them function better and enjoy life more thoroughly.

Arturo works with adults and elders. He helps people to restore the function in their arms and hands and shoulders. He works with patients who have survived strokes, amputees, those who have had surgery and more. He has been known to utilize his musical skill to serenade his patients at times.

All of VVRMC’s Occupational Therapists are experts at splinting. They custom make splints to assist with the healing process or to help with function. Most of our community doesn’t know about this special skill available here. They endure the cost and hardship of multiple trips to San Antonio to have splints made and to adjust them with modification and function improvement. The outcomes here are very successful and the patients are ecstatic about their recovery.

Our OTs will communicate constantly with a patient’s physician, are flexible with scheduling appointments and work with all orthopedic and neurological disorders in patients of all ages. There really is no reason to go anywhere else because your health is our business. Call 830-703-1729 to schedule an appointment.