Occupational Therapy In Acute Care

What is Occupational Therapy in Acute Care?

In contrast to ambulatory care, or outpatient treatment, acute care is defined as inpatient care. If you have a chronic condition, need care for a mild to significant traumatic injury, or are recovering from a life-threatening sickness, you often need acute care. You receive ongoing, round-the-clock attention while receiving occupational therapy in acute care. 

To complete and enhance health systems, emergency interventions, and services should be combined with primary care and public health initiatives. Acute care intervention is crucial because it frequently saves lives and is done within 24 hours of an emergency.

Acute care should ideally be integrated with preventative and primary care so that individuals can better understand their health and participate more actively in its improvement.

What is Acute Care?

What is Acute Care

Acute care is a degree of medical care provided to patients for illnesses caused by other illnesses or injuries, for brief but serious illness episodes, and while they are recovering from surgery. A team of healthcare specialists from several medical and surgical disciplines is supposed to provide acute care services to needy people. Acute hospital care often aims to discharge patients as soon as they are judged stable and in good health.

Emergency medicine, trauma treatment, pre-hospital emergency care, acute care surgery, critical care, urgent care, and short-term inpatient stabilisation are just a few of the clinical health care services that fall under the umbrella term “acute care.”

All acts that are intended to promote, prevent, cure, treat, rehabilitate, or provide palliative care and whose main goal is to enhance health and whose effectiveness largely depends on time are considered acute services or action that is sensitive and frequently quick.

Acute curative therapies that address life-threatening crises, acute exacerbations of chronic illnesses, and numerous common health issues that still call for rapid attention will be in greater demand as populations continue to age and increase. 

Why is Acute care important for you?

Acute care reacts to urgent medical situations. It acts as a point of entry into healthcare within health systems for people with urgent and emergent problems.

The conditions that acute care specialists treat are frequently significant and call for prompt action. The prevention of mortality and disability is greatly aided by acute care. This is a role that primary care is frequently ill-suited to fill. 

Acute care services can draw business and keep people in a community. This is particularly true for any group that has increased risks for acute diseases, such as senior-heavy areas. Hospitals are frequently the major employer in rural areas, where jobs in the healthcare sector make up an average of 14% of total employment. Hospitals and other acute care institutions increase local residents’ employment opportunities.

According to a report, nearly 25% of the 60 million people who live in rural America feel that their community’s lack of access to hospitals is a concern. Acute care that is close by removes the need for patients to travel great distances to obtain treatment, thus increasing patient outcomes. Only 9% of suburban dwellers struggle with the same issue. 

Although patients gain the most from nearby access to acute care, the entire community benefits as well.

What is Occupational Therapy in Acute Care?

What is Occupational Therapy in Acute Care

Occupational therapy plays a significant role in acute care even though it often works for patients who have long-term physical and mental health issues. Some people might benefit from OT, while others might not. If the patient’s health is stable and expert OT services will be beneficial, the OT will start treatment and set up individualised goals with a special emphasis on getting the patient up and moving whenever possible.

Occupational therapists are crucial members of the acute care team because of their expertise in anatomy, kinesiology, and neurology. They start collaborating with patients early on in the healing process to decide on the most effective therapies. 

The job, of an occupational therapist, is to assist patients with physical or cognitive impairments in acquiring or regaining the capacity to carry out important activities of daily living. To decide on the appropriate course of action, occupational therapists collaborate with physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, nurses, and doctors in interprofessional teams. Setting up performance-based objectives for the patient while taking into account their unique lifestyle is another task.

What Education Do You Need to Become an Acute Care OT?

Acute care is a subset of healthcare that includes the management of unexpected, urgent illnesses and injuries.

Acute care employment is not for everyone. If you decide to work in this setting as an OT practitioner, you must be informed about treating disorders brought on by a range of causes, including strokes, falls, and automobile accidents. As an acute care occupational therapist, you must be adaptable, resilient, have a keen eye for detail, and be able to work well under pressure.

It’s preferable to start with a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy or a related health sciences discipline if you want to become an acute care occupational therapist in the future. The next step is to obtain your graduate occupational therapy degree, which can be either a Master’s or Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (MOT or OTD).

Both degrees prepare you for entering clinical practice and include several months of mentored, practical fieldwork. However, the OTD degree also covers in-depth coursework in lobbying, research, and policymaking for the industry. After graduating, as long as you pass the NBCOT-administered national licensing exam, you can begin working.

Benefits of Occupational Therapy in Acute Care 

Benefits of Occupational Therapy in Acute Care 

Acute care teams that include occupational therapists benefit greatly both patients and hospitals. Occupational therapists (OTs) can assist patients in gaining better function by developing treatment plans that specify the next stages in care, such as home exercises, ongoing therapy, and adaptable ways to carry out daily activities. 

It is economical- by lowering patients’ risk of additional or future injuries, occupational therapists can assist hospitals in lowering readmission rates, which eventually results in cost savings. 

According to one study, occupational therapy’s unique ability to immediately focus on patients’ functional and social needs could explain why higher occupational therapy spending is linked to lower readmission rates.

Difference between Acute Care and Traditional Rehab

The main goals of acute care occupational therapists are to assist with patient medical stabilisation, promote early mobilisation, carry out therapeutic interventions, and develop discharge plans. Acute care is aggressive, quick-paced, and very instructive. Patients in rehab settings, on the other hand, have long-term problems that OTs manage. If you work in an acute care setting, you will likely see more patients in a shift than you would in a setting more conducive to traditional rehab.

You will also be under more pressure to act swiftly because patients in acute care are frequently in precarious conditions. You will be more focused on short, practical interventions rather than undertaking a lengthy hour-long ADL retraining session as you would in rehabilitation.

You won’t get to know your patients as well as you would in a regular rehab setting because acute care is short-term. In rehab, you spend a lot of time getting to know your patients and working with them. It’s uncommon to spend more than a few days with a patient in acute care. Even though you only spend a short time with the patient, you can still be confident you’re having an impact on their long-term rehabilitation by making sure they receive the finest post-acute care results.