Restore and Maintain Independence With Rehab
By Richard Baluran, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Lighthouse Guild
Living life to the fullest is a goal for each of us. Physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and vision rehabilitation (VT) can put that goal within reach, making people stronger, more mobile, more confident, healthier and safer.
Physical therapy focuses on restoring a function by improving movement, balance, pain management and gaining strength after an injury or illness. In most cases, the physical therapist will design a specific program of exercise to do daily at home.
A physical therapist will give additional exercises using specially designed equipment and techniques. Counseling and patient education are also part of the program.
Occupational therapy focuses on activities of daily living, such as dressing, going to the bathroom, bathing, brushing teeth and eating.
An occupational therapist can teach using adaptive devices to perform daily activities and use techniques to make grooming and dressing easier.
Identifying hazards in the home and evaluating and prescribing seating and wheelchair needs and helping with the use of memory books and other devices to aid memory can also be part of an occupational therapy program.
“My goal is to make patients function more independently,” said Inna Babaeva, an occupational therapist at Lighthouse Guild.
For those who have vision loss due to conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, and retinal diseases, vision rehabilitation can help patients make the best use of their remaining vision.
They can learn new skills and strategies to compensate for the loss of central or peripheral vision, loss of depth perception, decreased balance, decreased contrast sensitivity and increased glare.
Accessing Rehab Services
In most cases, patients will need a prescription or referral from a physician to begin a rehabilitation program. It is important for the patient to communicate honestly with their physician about how they are doing, whether they are having difficulty showering or performing daily tasks, for instance, so that they can get the referral they need to maximize independence.
It’s important to remember that each individual has different goals and abilities.
A rehabilitation program should be customized to the patient’s unique goals and abilities. They need to collaborate with your therapists to develop a treatment plan.
The good news is that with a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation, individuals can achieve as much independence as possible, learning how to travel and handle daily tasks. Working with the right team of therapists, they can maximize their abilities and live the life they want.
Richard Baluran is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Lighthouse Guild. Programs such as those offered at Lighthouse Guild in Manhattan can help restore or maintain independence and achieve a person’s personal best to improve quality of life.