Nation's leading researchers, scientists reveal findings at occupational therapy conference



LONG BEACH, Calif. This tip sheet highlights only a few of the hundreds of sessions being presented by members of the American Occupational Therapy Association at their 85th Annual Conference to be held May 12 through May 15.

The Conference & Expo will feature almost 250 education sessions, keynote and plenary presentations, and an Exhibit Hall showcasing hundreds of products and services. Panel discussions and workshops will bring together leading experts to explore key issues for advancing the quality and availability of occupational therapy and research.

Post-Combat: Reintegrating Citizen-Soldiers
Research indicates the potential long-term adverse effects of war exposure and a growing need for ongoing social support for returning veterans. As team members, occupational therapy practitioners identify strategies and resources to help reintegrate soldiers into their home, work, and community environments.

Empirical Data on Sensory Integration in the Treatment of ADHD
A new study provides empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of sensory integration and occupational therapy in treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Occupational therapy/ sensory integration is one of the most frequently used complementary therapies in the treatment of ADHD.

Creating Quality of Life for Parkinson's Patients
The National Institute on Aging is testing the effectiveness of a 6-week-long model rehabilitation intervention program for Parkinson's disease. The study suggests that motor control and learning can form the basis for quality-of-life intervention in Parkinson's disease.

Delaying Institutionalization of Elderly through Home Modifications
With a growing population of older adults and those living with chronic health-related conditions, home modifications are a growing concern to occupational therapy practitioners and to society as a whole. Home modifications can improve occupational performance, facilitate care giving, improve safety, reduce the need for personal care services, and even delay institutionalization.

The Value of Occupational Therapy in Disaster Response
Terrorist attacks, hurricanes, earthquakes and industrial accidents require OT practitioners to help citizens deal with occupational performance deficits immediately following these and other disaster situations. Practitioners must now have an understanding of disasters and how they can support communities in disaster response.

Guidelines for Alzheimer's Caregivers
Identification of specific enablers of and barriers to occupational aliveness in living environments for persons with Alzheimer's Disease can help occupational therapists improve institutional and family caregiving practices to the benefit of persons with Alzheimer's and those who directly provide their care each day.

Low Vision Rehabilitation in Older Adults
When compared to those without vision loss, older adults with vision loss report more difficulty walking, getting outside, getting into and out of a bed or a chair, managing medication, and preparing meals, as well as isolation, depression, and poor social relationships. With the aging population, occupational therapy practitioners can address the functional needs of individuals with visual impairment. Multi-disciplinary presenters will discuss "illuminating" new research on lighting in the home.

Addressing the Fear and Realities of Falling
A person's daily activities can become limited by fall-related injuries or even by fear of falling. Occupational therapy can address the fears, the environment, and the abilities of an individual to perform activities safely. Public and private organizations, such as the Archstone Foundation, are supporting a state-wide fall-prevention program to increase therapeutic capacity in California.

The Elderly and Driving Wellness
OT practitioners play a central role in identifying and correcting an older individual's driving-related capacity, but must also consider public health concerns associated with aging drivers. OT practitioners work with older individuals to assess their driving capabilities and define safe limits before adverse events occur. Presenters will focus on ways to keep drivers safer and on the road longer.

Musicians Suffer Unnecessarily
Musicians are at an increased risk for experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of their performing positions. Occupational therapists assessed and educated seven musicians about posture, breathing and rest breaks. Results revealed a significant decrease in pain and increase in body awareness after treatment.

Addressing the Emotional Needs of Students
School-based occupational therapy practitioners are recognizing that working with students with emotional and behavioral disorders is within their domain of practice. Panelists will review common mental disorders that students experience, related symptoms or behaviors they may display, and occupational performance areas potentially affected.

Modifications in the Workplace for Older Workers
Research suggests that older individuals who are in good health can benefit from working, citing increased mental health and life satisfaction as benefits. Occupational therapists are frequently called upon to guide employers in providing and retaining an ergonomically correct and safer working environment for the older worker.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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