Among the topics you’ll cover if you study physiotherapy or occupational therapy assistant training are the fundamentals of neurological disorders. Neurological disorders are any condition that affects the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, for example. These disorders can cause a wide range of challenges for patients, but physiotherapy and occupation therapy can help to improve their quality of life.
The training you’ll receive in physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistant courses can prepare you to work with clients with neurological disorders. Here are just a few of the ways you can make a difference.
Physiotherapy Helps Patients with Degenerative Diseases Preserve Functions
Recovery is not always a viable option for people with neurological disorders. Specifically, if a patient is battling a degenerative disorder, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or Alzheimer’s disease, then recovering lost functions may not be possible or realistic. Instead, the focus of physiotherapy is often on helping the patient preserve the movements and functions they still have and compensating for functions that have been lost.
For example, people with Parkinson’s may have trouble maintaining balance. A physiotherapist can devise a treatment plan for the patient that includes exercises which are designed to help patients learn how to maintain their sense of balance using their current abilities. Under the direction of the physiotherapist, you can use your physiotherapy assistant training to assist the patient through completing these balance exercises.
Help Stroke Victims Recover When You Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant
Strokes are very common, and currently, about 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term disability due to stroke. Stroke often leads to neurological disorders that require both physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The specific type of disorders vary widely from one stroke patient to another, but some common disorders include weakness on one side of the body, cognitive decline, and problems walking. These challenges can make performing daily activities a challenge.
Broadly speaking, physiotherapy focuses on helping stroke patients regain physical movement, while occupational therapy focuses on helping them participate in and complete activities. If you become an occupational therapy assistant, you can help stroke patients find ways to re-train or compensate for these lost activities. For example, many stroke victims have trouble with short-term memory, which can make daily tasks difficult. An occupational therapist will devise strategies that can help the patient compensate for these memory deficits, such as using memory aids like notice boards and wristbands. As an occupational therapy assistant, you will be able to help patients learn how to use these aids and report their progress back to the occupational therapist.
Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Can Help with Peripheral Neuropathy
Neurological conditions are not confined to just those that affect the brain. Instead, they are any condition that affects the nervous system. This includes the central nervous system, which is the brain and spinal cord, and the network of nerves located throughout the body called the peripheral nervous system. When the peripheral nervous system is damaged, it is called peripheral neuropathy, which can cause pain, numbness, loss of motor function, increased sensitivity, and many other issues. Peripheral neuropathy is especially common in patients with diabetes.
Physiotherapists may develop a range of exercises for patients with peripheral neuropathy that are designed to increase strength and improve motor functions. Physiotherapy assistants, under the supervision of the physiotherapist, help guide the patient through these exercises. Occupational therapy assistants, meanwhile, may—again under the supervision of the occupational therapist—teach patients how to overcome safety issues during daily tasks, like how to avoid falls while walking.
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Contact KLC College to learn more about our occupational therapist assistant course.