Natural Medicine

An occupational therapist is a health professional that aids individuals struggling with living a full and independent life, whether due to sickness, disability or other skill challenges. In many cases, an occupational therapist helps patients develop the skills they need for everyday living. Depending on the patient, skills that may need enhancing could include getting dressed, socializing or maintaining employment. A therapist Palatine, IL offers can help a patient feel more confident and self-sufficient in living a rewarding life.

Where do occupational therapists work?

An occupational therapist may work in a variety of settings, all depending on who their patient is and their needs. A common environment for occupational therapists is with children who have a hard time being engaged in school or social situations. An occupational therapist may provide aid to patients in any of the following settings:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing home facilities
  • Patient’s home
  • Day care facilities
  • Universities
  • Community centers
  • Workplaces

What does an occupational therapist consider when creating a treatment plan?

An occupational therapist takes into consideration each patient as a unique individual. There is no one-all treatment, as every person may have different struggles and needs. Practitioners take on a holistic perspective when treating patients. An occupational therapist commonly focuses on the following:

  • Performing an evaluation and creating an individualized plan for the patient
  • Finding ways to improve the patient’s ability to complete daily activities or accomplish other personal goals
  • Doing follow-up evaluations to confirm that the treatment plan is helpful, and making adjustments if needed

What are examples of patients an occupational therapist may work with?

Patients that an occupational therapist may work with can range in age, disability and diagnosis. Specific examples of patients can include but are not limited to:

  • Children in school who have learning disabilities or challenges behaviorally that impact their classroom experience
  • Senior patients who are recovering from a stroke or managing alzheimer’s disease
  • A person struggling with functioning at home or in social situations due to a mental illness
  • Assisting a patient with poor vision to create opportunities for independence
  • Performing evaluations for, and helping seniors improve driving skills

What’s the difference between physical and occupational therapy?

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are often confused as being the same thing. However, they are quite different in one core concept. Physical therapists focus on improving the patient’s ability to perform movements of their body. While on the other hand, occupational therapists focus on enhancing a patient’s ability to perform activities associated with daily living. An occupational therapist may find solutions or make minor adjustments to tasks so that a patient can feel more empowered despite their disability, condition or challenge. A physical therapist may use exercises, massage or other strategies to improve their patient’s range of motion after an injury, surgery or diagnosis.

What similarities do physical and occupational therapists have?

Both occupational and physical therapists strive to educate, prevent injuries, promote healing, and enhance the patient’s quality of life. In some cases, a patient may begin their treatment with a physical therapist and move on to progress with an occupational therapist.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into therapy and how it can enhance your life.

Dr Corey Priest, DC - Functional medicine practitioner

About the author

Dr. Corey Priest has been practicing functional medicine since 2001. in2GREAT was founded in 2014 by Dr Priest after 13 years of experience with his other practices. Over his career, Dr. Priest has worked with and helped well over 10,000 patients under a functional medicine model.

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