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Celebrate National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

Celebrate National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

From Sept. 18 through Sept. 24, we’re celebrating the positive impact of East Jefferson General Hospital rehabilitation professionals. The National Rehabilitation Awareness Week celebration started with the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation (NRAF), and it is now celebrated nationwide. Keep the party going by learning about rehabilitation from our East Jefferson General Hospital team and telling your friends.

The big 3

The three main types of rehabilitation professionals are occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists (PTs) and speech therapists, also called speech-language pathologists (SLPs). All types of rehab therapists work with people across the lifespan and in a variety of settings. You may see them in a clinic, hospital, nursing home, school or even your house. Depending on your needs, you might only see one type of therapist or work with all three.

Occupational therapists support the things you need and want to do

Whether your daily challenges stem from a physical or mental health condition, an OT can help you break down barriers and become as independent as possible. OTs work with people who are facing challenges related to being in school, doing self-care tasks, caring for others or working.

Because every person is different and the things they need to do each day are different, OT sessions can vary quite a bit. Occupational therapy goals might include:

  • Building skills to support concentration or memory
  • Creating and sticking to a routine
  • Learning or relearning how to brush your teeth, get dressed or wash yourself
  • Organizing your day to manage anxiety, fatigue or pain
  • Teaching you how to care for someone with dementia
  • Using adaptive equipment to cook a meal independently and safely

Physical therapists keep you moving

Physical therapists focus on helping you move safely, heal from or prevent injury and stay active. PT goals vary depending on your diagnoses and needs. You might receive physical therapy to:

  • Decrease chronic pain
  • Improve blood flow and metabolism
  • Increase balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility or strength
  • Learn or relearn how to sit unsupported, stand or walk
  • Master how to use a walker or wheelchair
  • Prevent joint injury

You might need physical therapy after an illness or injury or if you have a chronic health condition that affects your endurance or movement. When children see a physical therapist, it's often due to a developmental delay or physical disability.

Speech therapists do much more than talk

Speech therapists usually work with patients on one of two main goals: communication or eating. Sometimes they work on both goals at once.

Communication is more than just talking, and talking isn't as simple as it seems. When it comes to communication, SLPs work on many different issues and skills, including:

  • Figuring out which conversations are appropriate and when to have them
  • Issues with the flow of speech, such as a stutter
  • Making specific sounds for speech
  • Muscle coordination or strength in the mouth, neck and throat
  • Remembering words or what you wanted to tell someone
  • The volume of speech, or how loud or soft you talk
  • Understanding what other people are saying

For eating safety, speech therapists work on muscle coordination in the mouth, neck and throat. They also help find the cause of swallowing issues and determine what textures of food and thicknesses of liquids are safe for you to eat or drink without choking.

Children often see an SLP if they have a developmental delay. Speech therapy is also a common therapy for adults who have or are recovering from a variety of health conditions, including:

  • A traumatic brain injury
  • Dementia
  • Nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Pneumonia, especially if caused by food or water going into the lungs
  • Stroke

Looking for one-of-a-kind therapy designed for one-of-a-kind you? Learn more about East Jefferson General Hospital rehabilitation services.