The field of occupational therapy is committed to helping physically and mentally disabled people to live self-sufficient, fulfilling lives through the accomplishment of everyday tasks.
The ability to perform routine household and personal care activities is mostly taken for granted by non-disabled people. However, accomplishing simple tasks such as brushing teeth and eating without assistance is a great confidence boost to physically disabled persons who have goals to gain independence in spite of their impairments.
Advances in technology have improved the ways that occupational therapists diagnose and treat physically and mentally disabled persons. The development of innovative occupational therapy equipment is a significant output of increased technology-based research in this field.
Here are some examples of ways that technology has improved the equipment that is used within occupational therapy.
Innovative Personal Care
Most arthritis sufferers can remember when they could do normal tasks without difficulty, and it is especially frustrating to them when arthritis pain and disfigurement slow them down.
Thanks to advanced research in material science, product design and manufacturing methods, people with arthritis are now able to bath themselves, write, eat, and perform other daily tasks without assistance.
Newly designed bath grab bars are made of sturdy materials and they firmly grip the sides of bath tubs and shower stalls so that physically disabled persons can safely enter and exit bathing facilities. Improvements within product manufacturing have allowed designers to produce grab bars that easily adjust, lock and pivot to fit any bathroom space. This product greatly improves the quality of life for disabled persons because it allows them to make nearly any bathroom handicap-accessible in seconds. Another newly developed product is a silicone strap which attaches to household items, such as a toothbrush, pencil, or utensil.
The strap assists arthritis sufferers in holding and maneuvering the object it's attached to by helping keep a sturdy grip. With this silicone strap, people with arthritis can resume navigating through daily activities, such as brushing their teeth, without relying on the help of others.
Assistive Technological Devices
The proliferation of assistive technological devices within occupational therapy has contributed greatly to the independence of physically and mentally disabled persons.
These devices include improved speech-to-text computerized systems that allow special needs students to complete the same school assignments as their non-disabled peers.
Assistive technological devices are also pieces of equipment that are used to modify other mobility appliances to meet the unique needs of disabled persons. For example, an occupational therapist can recommend that a physically disabled person obtain an electric wheelchair that is fitted with a lift that assists the person to stand when needed.
This type of product is used for disabled persons who need to reach cabinet space and other storage areas within their dwellings without the assistance of another person. Some pieces of adaptive equipment are not mass produced, and development of specialized products often requires input from engineers, manufacturing experts as well as the clients' occupational therapists.
Technological improvements have made it possible for many of these devices to be produced quickly, affordably and in compliance with industry standards.
Technology-Driven Research for Low-Tech Occupational Therapy Solutions
Technology has been the catalyst for a number of product and process improvements within the field of occupational therapy.
For example, occupational therapists can use technology to record and analyze the activities of their clients to gain more accurate assessments of patients' physical needs than if they relied solely on their own eyesight. This research is often used by occupational therapy product designers to create simple solutions such as custom flatware sets that have rubber-encased handles for better gripping function.
This type of product enables a physically disabled person to eat without depending upon a family member or home care aid for help.
EazyHold offers a collection of comfortable silicone hand straps to assist those challenged by weakened hand grip, arthritis and other disabilities. Visit our blog to learn more, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to stay in touch.