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Occupational therapists collaborate to enhance patient health and well-being

MONROE — The rehabilitation department at any hospital houses several rehabilitation professions, all of which have one goal — to give the patient the best service so they can get better. One subspecialty of rehabilitation is occupational therapy (OT).

A common question is why this team is called ‘occupational therapy’ when the purpose is not on helping people get jobs? OT comes from a historical idea of occupation in the reference to whatever ‘occupies’ someone’s time.  

This evidence-based profession that takes a holistic view of both a patient and their environment to enable them to participate in daily living despite injury, illness, or disability. Occupational therapists work in various settings and with a diverse population towards the goal of making long-term and meaningful differences in patients’ daily lives.

Illness or injury can lead to impairments which often make completing every day activities challenging. When creating a rehabilitation plan, OTs focus on what daily living activities are meaningful to the patient. Then through rehabilitation exercise, adaption and/or compensation, OTs help patients reach those goals to return to those activities. 

Patients that commonly utilize occupational therapy are those recovering from stroke, an upper extremity fracture, lymphedema, shoulder pain, after a shoulder surgery, upper extremity nerve dysfunction such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendinopathy such as “tennis elbow.”

Patients may encounter OTs at SSM Health Monroe Hospital during a hospital stay or in a clinic appointment. These team members actively collaborate as a team with the patient and their referring provider to develop an individualized plan to assist in their return to valued activities. 

To learn more, visit or call 608-324-1178.