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Occupational Therapy’s Role in Bariatric Care

Occupational Therapy’s Role in Bariatric Care

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Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that addresses the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.
Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that addresses the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

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What Is Bariatrics?
Bariatrics is the branch o medicine that addressesthe causes, prevention, and treatment o obesity.Approximately 400 million adults are classifed asobese around the world (World Health Organization[WHO], 2009), and by 2015 there may be 700million adults with this condition. Obesity canlead to serious health risks, such as cardiovasculardisease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, andcancer (WHO, 2009). Obesity also contributes topsychosocial and societal problems resulting in jobabsenteeism, less education, ewer housing and workopportunities, restricted access to health care, andreduced social participation due to a societal stigma(American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2007). Individuals with obesity ace limitations in theirability to execute daily activities, especially i they have other medical complications or comorbidities.Some health care settings use a multidisciplinary team approach to bariatric intervention. Team members mayinclude bariatric physicians, advanced practice nurses, dieticians, social workers, case managers, pharmacists,physical therapists, and occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapypractitioners have a unique role on these teams as they are equipped with skills to address patients’ unctional andenvironmental limitations, as opposed to the historical emphasis on remediating medical defcits.
 The Role of Occupational Therapy in Bariatrics
Occupational therapy practitioners can help individuals with obesity change their liestyle, engage in meaningulactivities, and manage their weight (AOTA, 2007). Practitioners use an individualized, client-centered approach toidentiy barriers to perormance o meaningul and necessary activities. They assist and support liestyle changes orindividuals with obesity through interventions that ocus on health promotion, disease prevention, remediation,adaptation, and maintenance (AOTA, 2007). Education and customized, collaborative intervention planning are usedto promote eective habit building to meet the individual’s goals (AOTA, 2007). Occupational therapy practitionersmay also recommend adaptations to the environment or to the task itsel to improve the client’s perormance.Occupational therapy practitioners can provide services to individuals receiving specialized bariatric care, or toindividuals with other medical conditions who have obesity as a secondary diagnosis, to enhance their unctionalcapabilities in the ollowing areas:Activities o daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and toileting, with particular attention to areasrequiring sufcient reach and exibility (e.g., washing and drying the buttocks, back, and eet).The use o proper and sae durable medical equipment, such as a tub bench or adaptive equipment ordressing.Home modifcations to promote activity participation and improved environmental access.Individualized therapeutic exercises to enhance strength or improved occupational perormance andincreased ftness.
Occupational Therapy’s Role in
Bariatric Care
www.aota.org4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20842-1220Phone: 301-652-2682 TDD: 800-377-8555 Fax: 301-652-7711

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