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Occupational Therapy’s Role in Adult Cognitive Disorders

Occupational Therapy’s Role in Adult Cognitive Disorders

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Cognition includes processes such as orientation, attention, perception,problem solving, memory, judgment, language, reasoning, andplanning. It is essential or taking in inormation, synthesizing it, andusing it to aect behavior. Thereore, a cognitive defcit will have atleast some impact on unction. Cognitive disorders may be caused bytraumatic brain injury (TBI), inection, tumors, stroke, dementias suchas Alzheimer’s disease, or existing congenital conditions.Cognitive disorders are a growing problem in the United States. Theincidence among older adults is accelerating as people are living longerand as demographics shit toward an aging population. In 2010, itwas estimated that 5.3 million people in the U.S. had Alzheimer’sdisease and an additional 3.7 to 5.3 million people had other types o dementia,
most o whom were over 65 years o age.Among younger adults, cognitive impairment is oten caused by injury. It is difcult to fnd statistics or the total numbero adults with cognitive impairment, but rom 2002 to 2006 TBI alone accounted or almost 750,000 annual injuries o people between the ages o 15 and 64.
Occupational Therapy’s Role in Cognitive Rehabilitation
Occupational therapists are experts at determining how cognitive defcits can impact everyday activities, socialinteractions, and routines. Their knowledge about neurology and neuroanatomy helps them understand the impact o the brain disorder on defcits, administer appropriate tests and measures to identiy the extent o unctional loss, anddetermine the extent to which defcits are likely to be remediated or circumvented. Occupational therapists have the skillsto assess the cognitive aspects o unctional activities and design an intervention plan, rom acute care to communityreintegration.There is signifcant evidence that the brain has considerable neuroplasticity, or the capacity to redirect pathways andrelearn skills, even many years ater damage has occurred.
Occupational therapy practitioners acilitate this processthrough the use and modifcation o motivating daily activities and adaptation o the client’s environments.
Where Do Occupational Therapy Practitioners Provide Cognitive Rehabilitation?
Occupational therapy services or cognitive impairment are provided in a number o settings.
 Acute Care:
Typically or individuals with sudden onset, such as stroke or TBI.Evaluation o perormance ability or saety and independence in sel-care activitiesPreparatory activities to acilitate balance and stabilityFamily and caregiver educationHome program may be developed, with client/caregiver training as needed
 Rehabilitation Center or Skilled Nursing Facility:
Follow up to acute care interventions when incident is severe.Intensive, daily therapy to improve all aspects o unctionIntervention to address attention, problem solving, and perceptual defcits, and to manage impulsive behavior
Occupational Therapy’s Role in
Adult Cognitive Disorders
www.aota.org4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814-3425Phone: 301-652-2682 TDD: 800-377-8555 Fax: 301-652-7711
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