Occupational therapists, like Jessy Ohlsen, OT/R, can help patients with cognitive problems to function more independently.
How do you evaluate a patient who seems to have cognitive changes?
We always start with asking the client how they are doing with completing their daily tasks and responsibilities, and what goals they would like to set for therapy. If there are suspected deficits with cognition or they report difficulty with their thinking skills that might be impacting their ability to complete these tasks, we use a variety of tools to gain further understanding of where they are having difficulty. We use standardized assessments and also observe our clients performing activities of daily living, such as dressing or cooking, to see where their cognition might be affecting their performance or safety.
What are some signs of cognitive problems?
Clients with cognitive problems might experience trouble concentrating on tasks, feel forgetful, or might be easily distracted or frustrated during normal daily activities. They might also have difficulty keeping track of what they are trying to complete such as when trying to pay their bills or forgetting that the stove is on when cooking. They could also have difficulty with sequencing tasks such as when cooking and having difficulty with preparing all steps of a meal.
Jessy Ohlsen, Occupational Therapist
What can you do to help patients improve memory, attention, processing speed, planning, and organization?
OTs focus on improving our client’s cognitive skills so that they can function as independently as possible. We use a variety of treatment activities to try to improve these skills while also teaching them how to compensate for their deficits. We also give clients exercises and activities that can be completed at home to help work on their cognitive deficits to help prevent further decline.