Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 11, 2021

How New Technology Has Improved Occupational Therapy




Occupational therapy is a medical practice that’s aimed at helping patients with cognitive, physical, or mental disorders to recover and gain skills that are important for daily living. Occupational therapy is common among the elderly who have developed disorders associated with old age. You can use occupational therapy to train an individual for their future employment roles through the use of technology that’s dynamically transforming the occupational therapy field. 

Professional therapy may require the use of judicious, explicit, and conscientious evidence in making decisions about the care of your clients. As a result, an evidence based occupational therapist will integrate proven research results, their clinical expertise, as well as the beliefs, values, and preferences of their client. 

There are different kinds of technologies that are changing the occupational therapy profession. These include apps, video games, visual aids, hearing assistive technologies, virtual assistant technologies, robotics and computerization, and smart shoes. This article explores these occupational therapy technologies. 

Smart Shoes

Medical illnesses, injuries, and complications may cause some individuals to develop walking challenges without assistive equipment. Therefore, you need to provide comfort to the feet by finding suitable shoes that make walking comfortable. As a result, the AposTherapy technology has embarked on developing smart shoes that can reduce the pressure of the affected parts of a patient's feet to improve their walking. 

Virtual Assistant 

Several technologies have ventured into virtual assistant technology in therapy. They include Alexa and Google Assistant. Smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, can identify the voice of a therapy patient and perform certain actions. You can connect these speakers with gadgets like tablets, mobile phones, and televisions. 

Virtual assistant technology can be used to play games, music, video shows, as well as operate other smart devices, without the need to move around or request a human assistant. Using a virtual assistant, you can schedule a rehab therapy session for your patient. When the time comes, the VA will voice the reminder to the patient. 

Computerization And Robotics Technology

Individuals who’ve got challenges with their movement may need help to restore strength and movement in their legs. Thus, new computer-based technologies can help them in therapy. Some of these technologies include:

  • Lokomat: These robots are fitted on your legs and mimic the movement of the legs and the pelvis to help you improve your walking. As these robots move, they transmit the weight from one leg to another. After some time, your therapist can adjust the weight using a computerized system to develop resilience. 
  • TheraSuit: This type of technology helps therapy individuals to walk correctly. It helps you in building correct reflexes, as well as minimizes the pressure exerted on your tendons and muscles. Additionally, TheraSuit may help you develop walking balance and coordination, and build bone density. 

Hearing Aid Technologies

Some individuals do have challenges with their hearing perception. Even the raising of voice may not help them. Thus, the innovation of assistive devices helps in boosting their ability to perceive sound. These technologies include:

  • CaptionCall Amplified Phone: A patient having hearing problems might not be able to use the standard phone. Thus, CaptionCall can recognize voice and caption on a large screen. The patient can then read the captions instead of straining to listen to the voice. 
  • Hypersound Clear Speakers: These types of speakers can amplify your sound so that someone with hearing challenges can pick the sound. They can also enhance the clarity of sound so that the listener won’t need headphones. You can provide these speakers to your patient so that they can follow their favorite shows, listen to music, or participate in live video calls. 

Visual Aid Technology

Glasses have been the traditional way of helping individuals with vision problems. One of these is the OrCam MyEye 2.0, which is a tiny computer that’s fitted on your glasses. These glasses help in magnifying text for better readability. Additionally, this tiny computer can scan text and barcodes. It also contains a text-speech output for individuals with challenges in reading. Therefore, this technology can help you boost your reading and entertainment, and generally enhance the quality of your life. 

Video Games

For individuals with cognitive challenges, video games are essential to practice spatial reasoning, with no need to leave home. Driving games can boost a patient's spatial reasoning and hand motion. With spatial reasoning, you can better understand dimensions and locations for activities, such as buttoning your shirt, assembling household items, or wearing your shoes correctly.

Conclusion

Occupational therapy is important in restoring or boosting the normal functioning of various body parts, be it your ears, legs, eyes, or mind. In case you have a patient in need of occupational therapy, you only need to know the kind of technology that suits their medical needs. The advantage of the technologies discussed in this blog is that you can use them in the comfort of your home rather than in the hospital. 

Leah Humphrey

Leah Humphrey is an occupational therapist. She assists employees in a food processing company. During her spare time, Leah shares her knowledge and skills through blogging. She enjoys reading books, watching movies, and traveling.









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