"Today’s society is being dominated by two divergent issues: An aging population and a fast-moving world. The competing interests often require the expertise of occupational therapists who help people in their homes and workplaces improve and maintain their ability to perform daily tasks.
April is National Occupational Therapy Month. During the next four weeks, graduate students in Misericordia University’s Occupational Therapy Department will examine issues and situations that professionally licensed OTs tackle every day in their practices.
An important aspect of occupational therapy is helping people get the most out of their everyday lives. One method OTs use is ergonomics, or the science of designing a patient’s environment to help them reach their highest level of function. It can be as simple as adjusting a person’s posture while they perform daily work or as complex as making modifications to an entire workplace.
“By using the principles of ergonomics, work productivity and efficiency can improve,” Misericordia University graduate OT student Erin Moravec said. “Injuries can also be prevented and people with pre-existing injuries or chronic medical conditions are provided with equal work opportunities.”
Moravec has provided therapy for children with cerebral palsy during a Misericordia service trip to Romania and has honed her clinical skills with adult patients during a rotation at St. Joseph’s Twin Tier Rehabilitation Center in Elmira, N.Y. Her training and experience as an occupational therapy student offer a glimpse into the many applications and benefits of the profession.
For example, OTs can work with employers and companies to develop ergonomic guidelines. They can assess an environment and make recommendations to the employer as well as provide on-site job training to ensure proper ergonomics is achieved.
OTs can ensure proper ergonomics by evaluating the workplace and providing recommendations, and an ergonomic risk analysis checklist. They can give onsite job training and educate employers and employees about potential job-related injuries and the appropriate prevention methods.
Employers, with the assistance of OTs, can design pre-hire screenings for particular jobs that will help reduce the risk of a workplace injury, and create an essential functions document that specifically targets certain jobs. An OT also can determine reasonable accommodations that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide or recommend tools and devices that prevent injury." (Continued via The Times Leader, Diane Costulas) [Ergonomics Resources]