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What have you seen help a majority of patients to improve their ability to complete daily activities?

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Occupational Therapist

I think what is really important is repetition and consistency of doing therapy. For example, I might have a patient that is having difficulty dressing so they can't sequence it, they can't problem solve it, they don't know where to start, they're putting different things on different legs, or starting at the bottom, the top, whatever. You know they're having a really hard time with that so I’m going to work on that every day. I might do it every day at the same time because I think the consistency helps and it’s really the repetition of it that helps motor learning and it helps the patient to remember how to do those steps over and over again. Along with that, it's really important with cueing which is providing cues on how to do things. Some patients might need hand over hand, a sense assist. With feeding, you might need to literally put your hand over the hand to put the spoon in their mouth. So starting with that and then decreasing your cues. Starting with the tactile cue, which is like the most and then decreasing it to a verbal cue, making sure that you decrease your cues along the way. It's okay to let the person fail. Don't jump in too soon- you want to actually see what they're able to do. What I also find really helpful is recording my patients. Sometimes I'll record them doing an activity such as getting dressed or putting on a shirt. I will record them and have them watch it because a lot of times people aren't able to have any insight when they're doing the activity that they're doing it wrong. Actually having them watch it and then identify what the errors that they made sometimes is really helpful. It can also be helpful to present the video to them prior to us doing that activity so showing a video and then try to do the activity and see how that works out and usually it's pretty successful because they're like “oh I realize I did it wrong and this is what I need to work on.” I think what's really important for patients is finding activities that are motivating and really motivate the person because if you do things that are not motivating, they're just not into it and it's kind of a struggle. Also, just setting goals with a patient too is helpful even if it's super small-  just so they know what they're working towards is really helpful.