Rehabilitation at The Cedars: Focus on Occupational Therapy

Occupational TherapyAt The Sam L. Cohen Rehabilitation Center at The Cedars, we have over 40 physical, occupational and speech therapists that provide rehabilitative therapy to our short term patients, long term residents, and outpatients living in the Portland area.  Heidi Graf, Director of Rehabilitation at The Cedars and an occupational therapist herself, describes the role of an OT as restoring balance in the patient’s life by helping patients return to their optimal level of functioning in self-care. 

Balance in self-care is a combination of caring for our bodies through bathing, dressing and grooming, and as well as through the reintegration of leisure activities into our lives.  During the initial evaluation with patients, the OT asks about prior level and immediately starts to problem solve in order to get that patient home safely.  The therapy goals are often achieved through purposeful activities where the OT incorporates basic tasks with strengthening, fine motor or balance exercises.  Examples may include bathing and dressing, preparing a meal in the kitchen, or playing the piano.

Specific areas of concentration for Occupational Therapists include fine motor skills and working with cognition.  Fine motor tasks involve writing, using utensils, sewing or knitting.  Heidi describes the joy patients exude when they’ve discovered they can resume a favorite skill or pastime, “oh my, I can do this again!” Completing assessments and teaching compensatory strategies to patients experiencing memory loss is another area of expertise in the OT tool kit. Memory books, for example, often provide tremendous assistance in helping to navigate through the day.

For more information on Occupational Therapy at the Sam L. Cohen Rehabilitation Center at The Cedars, please call 207-221-7100.

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