West Virginia University’s Division of Occupational Therapy includes a clinical arm providing general and specialty patient care in the clinic, home, school, workplace and community environments, helping those we serve overcome barriers to live life to the fullest.
Some of the services offered are:
“Chemo brain” is a common term used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur after cancer treatment. Chemo brain can also be called cancer-related cognitive impairment or cognitive dysfunction. Some people experience cognitive changes during and after treatment. These changes can include:
- being unusually disorganized
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty finding the right word
- difficulty multitasking
- short attention span
- short-term memory problems
- taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks.
Within occupational therapy, we help break down barriers so that clients can do the things they need and want to do in life. In addition to cognitive changes, cancer survivors may also experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression, as well as struggle with performing their activities of daily living. The severity and duration of the symptoms of chemo brain and other cancer-related effects differ from person to person, so the interventions and coping strategies will also vary for each person as appropriate. Our skilled clinicians will work with you to:
- develop strategies to improve your cognitive abilities and performance
- help you improve your ability to complete everyday life activities
- create a plan that equips you to better manage any symptoms associated with cancer treatments and
- identify ways to improve your overall health and wellness.
Assistive Technology and Computer Access
Occupational therapy, in collaboration with speech therapy and physical therapy offer a team of experts to partner with you to perform a comprehensive evaluation and assessment so that together, we can find just the right assistive devices for you or your loved one. Our services provide enhancements to, or suggest changes to the way a task is performed. The use of assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to do things that they were formerly unable to do or had great difficulty completing.
Additionally, we will:
- provide clinical computer access evaluations, including options for “hands free” access
- consult on new mobility device evaluations, including complex seating and mobility needs
- assess multiple strategies for producing written output and make recommendations based on your individual writing needs
- Offer assessment and intervention for young children introducing assistive technology use through play activities to support the development of more complex mobility and communication device access strategies.
Driver Risk Assessments
Occupational therapy practitioners with specialized training in driver rehabilitation may administer off-road driving evaluations. The purpose of the evaluation in the office or clinic is to examine the physical, visual, and mental abilities required for safe driving. This would include:
- Reaction time, needed for stopping fast enough to avoid a crash
- Basic visual acuity, or sharpness of vision
- Visual field or “blindspot” assessment
- Decision making, judgment, and planning (e.g., needed for making left turns)
In addition the occupational therapist can do a “CarFit” assessment of you in your car. This non-driving assessment looks at the fit and safety supports in your own car. Based on your evaluation, the therapist can make recommendations about strategies, specialized equipment, and training to improve your driving safety and your overall health and well-being.
Typically concussion symptoms improve in 7-10 days. When those symptoms last longer than that, it is called Post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The symptoms of PCS vary from person to person and fall into 4 categories: physical difficulties, thinking and memory issues, emotional issues, and sleep issues. Occupational therapy concussion service focus on both physical and cognitive symptoms, and help you successfully return to work or school.
A wide range of outpatient occupational therapy services are available including hand therapy, with a certified hand therapist, services for persons with neurological conditions, and lifestyle supports for medication management, smoking cessation and life transitions.