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News Opinion Readers Respond

Occupational therapists serve vital role

I am an occupational therapy student at Towson University, and I wanted to express my opinion concerning Kevin Rector's article, "Hospitals join to find beds for mental patients" (Feb. 19). Throughout the article, I saw reference to health professionals including nurses, social workers, and psychiatrists. However, I didn't see mention of occupational therapists. I don't know if you are aware that occupational therapists play a significant role in the treatment of patients admitted to psychiatric facilities.

Occupational therapists collaborate with other health professionals to help individuals on their road to recovery and provide a unique theoretical and clinical contribution to the recovery and treatment team. Occupational therapy's emergence can be found as far back as 18th century Europe when ideas were evolving regarding the mentally ill. Treatment became based on purposeful daily activities.

When working with someone with a mental health condition, occupational therapists employ a variety of assessments and create a personalized occupational profile. This profile is used for goal-setting and treatment planning. Some common interventions include coping skills, social and interpersonal skills, cognitive rehabilitation, supported employment and education.

Occupational therapists should be considered a vital member of the team of health care providers who are working to determine a solution for creating a new point of entry for patients seeking psychiatric treatment to ensure a more effective admission to the appropriate hospital unit. Occupational therapists would be central for creating suggestions to make the transition from entering the ER to a hospital bed less traumatic for the patient. They could also be helpful in the formation of a step-by-step statewide plan for managing the patients who are experiencing psychosis or threatening suicide as they enter the ER on a frequent basis. I would like to make the suggestion to include the viewpoint and specialization of an occupational therapist in solving this issue that is affecting both the hospital and the patients.

Javonna George, Towson

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