Occupational Therapy for Stroke

SARAH EKBLADH, OTR

 

The primary goal of Occupation therapy (OT) in the treatment of patients who have had a stroke is to increase their independence with activities of daily living (ADL’s). In acute care, this would focus on assisting patients with the ability to dress and bathe themselves. Initially, this involves training patients in compensatory techniques to complete these activities as patients may have weakness on one side, balance deficits or visual deficits. Adapted equipment may also be issued for feeding or dressing if this increases independence.

 

OT also focuses on the use of the arms and hands. Since strokes often cause weakness or incoordination on one side of the body, treatment may include range of motion exercises, strengthening or coordination activities on the affected side. Additionally, OT may provide braces or splints for the affected limb to prevent contractures (if needed).

 

OT may also evaluate visual and perceptual skills as patients may have visual deficits after a stroke. These deficits may include not being able to see one side, “forgetting” about one side or double vision. Treatment includes re-training visual skills as well as compensating for deficits.