Communication in Occupational Therapy
Communication is crucial in occupational therapy if the person wants to get well in a timely manner. Insurance companies also want ‘timely fashion’ as they generally provide too few sessions but expect great results. As the mentor on a team, I like to discuss with the patient about what their goals are for the six weeks of visits and together we would then come up with a plan for achieving those goals. As an occupational therapist, you will typically work on functionality and have the person work on different ways to avoid aggravating their pain.
As the mentor, my role is to get the person expressing their needs and wants of the occupational therapist and their expectations. as we need them to tell us what is their purpose for wanting occupational therapy. Once the client has laid out their goals, we can get to work on making those goals happen. As professionals we need to remember we can’t always go off of the doctor’s reports or the IEP because the client often times doesn’t tell their doctor everything about the pain or the struggles with a certain task. The patient must feel comfortable, safe and be genuinely truthful about their pain or the difficulties in doing daily tasks.
As an occupational therapist and mentor on the care plan, we are there to work with the person so they are able to do more things comfortably. The occupational therapist has to remember that they need to take the client’s lead as they are the expert on their bodies and know what feels normal and what feels off. My unique position of both being a professional in the field and receiving the services myself, I understand where the client is coming from. My advice for any new occupational therapist is to listen, listen and listen again to the patient. If you do, you may be able to achieve most of your patient’s goals within the six week period.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children