occupational therapy(redirected from occupational therapist)
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the use of work for therapeutic purposes. Occupational therapy may be prescribed, for example, to improve body tone or to normalize metabolic activity—in which case treatment takes the form of outdoor work, such as gardening, that involves many of the muscles. In traumatology and orthopedics, functional restoration of the extremities may be achieved through specific forms of physical work with a given range of movements and the use of some particular groups of muscles.
Occupational therapy is most extensively used in psychiatric treatment for its beneficial effect on mental patients. The type of work prescribed depends on the patient’s condition and may have a stimulating or a tranquilizing effect. In subacute and chronic mental diseases or states of mind in which the personality is altered, occupational therapy can significantly contribute to the patient’s social and occupational rehabilitation. Work of gradually increasing complexity serves to exercise and strengthen compensatory processes, thus facilitating the transition to regular industrial work. Socially useful work and the influence of co-workers also have therapeutic and prophylactic value.
In the USSR, psychiatric hospitals and clinics usually have special occupational therapy workshops for the treatment of mental patients. Staff members of psychiatric institutions organize work activities in the patients’ homes and in various hospital departments as well as in the special workshops. Workshop personnel includes nurses and physicians who observe the patients, make recommendations with respect to work activities, and administer medications.
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Kaptelin, A. F. Vosstanovitel’noe léchente (lechebnaia fizkul’tura, massazh i trudoterapiia) pri travmakh i deformatsiiakh oporno-dvigatel’nogo apparata. Moscow, 1969.
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Khvilivitskii, T. Ia., and B. B. Malakhov. Trudovaia terapiia ifarmakologicheskoe lechenie bol’nykh shizofreniei v ambulatornykh usloviiakh. Leningrad, 1975.
M. I. FOTIANOV