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Archive for category: Solutions For Living

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What Does a Psychologist Do?

February is Psychology Month.  Psychologists, often confused with Psychiatrists, are valuable health practitioners who assist people with how they feel, act and behave.  Learn more about psychology, its benefits, and how a Psychologist may be able to assist you or someone you love in the following care of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Canadian Psychological Association: What is a Psychologist?

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O-Tip of the Week: Exercise — The Key to a Healthy Heart!

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of February, Heart Month, our O-Tip series will feature Heart Smart Life Hacks.

You’ve heart this before and we’ll say it again:  physical activity is extremely beneficial for all aspects of your health.  When it comes to heart health, regular cardiovascular activity is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and keep your ticker ticking!

Learn more about the benefits of exercise for your heart in the following care of WebMD.

WebMD:  Get Moving for a Healthier Heart

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Occupational Therapy Provides Solutions for Living with Heart Disease

February is Heart Month and while many of our blog posts will focus on prevention through good health habits, we want to also provide you with some tips for recovery.

Heart disease has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. It can lead to discomfort or chronic pain, activity limitations, disability and unemployment. “An estimated 345,000 Canadians aged 35 to 64 reported living with heart disease. More than a third (36%) of these reported needing help with household tasks or personal care” (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 1999). Heart disease requires lifestyle changes to prevent progression of the disease, further cardiac events and activity restrictions.

An occupational therapist, in conjunction with other team members, will help you determine what activities you can safely perform and how to modify activities to decrease the amount of energy required.  Learn more about the solutions an Occupational Therapist can provide in the following infographic.

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Overcoming Eating Disorders: OT Can Help

Guest Blogger:  Carolyn Rocca, Occupational Therapist

According to Statistics Canada, in 2012 over 130,000 Canadians over the age of 15 years old reported that they have been diagnosed by a health professional as having an eating disorder. Considering these high rates, and the likely underestimation of reported diagnoses, eating disorders remain a form of mental illness that are not openly talked about.

Eating disorder is an umbrella term for several categories of diagnoses, with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorders not otherwise specified being the most common. Although symptoms vary based on the diagnosis, some overall symptoms experienced with eating disorders include a pre-occupation with body weight, body dissatisfaction, behaviours to prevent weight gain, perfectionism, emotional dysregulation, depressed mood (including suicidality), anxiety, and low self-esteem. Naturally, these symptoms can lead to secondary impacts such as physical adverse effects, social isolation, and a compromise of occupation in the areas of self-care, daily living, leisure, and productivity (NCCMH, 2004).

The treatment and recovery of adolescents with eating disorders involves the collective work of many healthcare professionals including physicians, dietitians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers, child and youth counselors, and, yes, occupational therapists(Norris et al., 2013). Each of these team members works collaboratively to deliver the best practice approaches of pharmacotherapy, nutritional rehabilitation, and psychosocial interventions, including cognitive behavioural, dialectical behavioural, interpersonal, and family based therapies, among others (APA, 2006; NCCMH, 2004). Several of the healthcare professionals working with adolescents with eating disorders can deliver these therapies, including occupational therapists.

This means that occupational therapists work effectively with several disciplines to deliver best practice approaches, while also integrating their unique focus on occupational functioning to the team. Occupational therapists’ unique contribution is their ability to holistically address the physical, cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial aspects of adolescent eating disorders through occupation-based approaches to improve adolescents’ self-worth and self-esteem (Kloczko & Ikiugu, 2006). As mentioned previously, eating disorders commonly have a substantial impact on adolescents’ function in the areas of leisure, self-care, daily living, and productivity (NCCMH, 2004), meaning many youth have difficulty balancing their family and social lives, education, employment, extra-curricular participation, ability to regulate their own activities, and thus overall health.

Occupational therapists have the expertise to work closely with adolescents and their family to help them with their goals around succeeding in school, work, leisure, and overall re-engagement in meaningful activities. In fact, Occupational Therapists are skilled at using meaningful activities as a vessel to get to the underlying problem of the eating disorder.  Sessions don’t focus on eating, food or binging behavior, but on being productive, enjoying life, and accomplishing things that matter.  The indirect influence is better choices in other areas (including diet) and recognizing the link between mental and physical health, quality of life and wellness.

If you know a teen (or adult for that matter) that may be dealing with an eating disorder, encourage them get help.  There is a team of professionals, including occupational therapy, that are skilled at assisting teens to recover from these, and other mental health issues.

 

References & Resources:

American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2006). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with eating disorders (3rd ed). Retrieved from https://www.guideline.gov/summaries/summary/9318/practice-guideline-for-the-treatment-of-patients-with-eating-disorders

Kloczko, E., & Ikiugu, M. N. (2006). The role of occupational therapy in the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders as perceived by mental health therapists. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 22(1), 63-83. doi:10.1300/J004v22n01_05

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH). (2004). Eating disorders: Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg9/evidence

Norris, M., Strike, M., Pinhas, L., Gomez, R., Elliott, A., Ferguson, P., & Gusella, J. (2013). The Canadian eating disorder program survey–exploring intensive treatment programs for youth with eating disorders. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22(4), 310.

Statistics Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2012004/sections/sectiond-eng.htm

 

previously posted March 2017

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O-Tip of the Week: Heart Smart Diet Tips

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of February, Heart Month, our O-Tip series will feature Heart Smart Life Hacks.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation states that high blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke and a leading cause of heart attack.  Help prevent your risk, and lower your blood pressure by trying the DASH ( Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) diet.  

Learn more care of The Heart and Stroke Foundation:  The DASH Diet to lower high blood pressure

 

 

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Ecotherapy: Harness Nature’s Healing Power

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Of all the ways I take care of myself, my daily walk outdoors with my dogs is one of the most therapeutic.  The only things that keep me from being outside daily would be a horrible rainstorm or temperatures that are too cold for my dogs to endure.

Not only does seeing my dogs enjoying the scents of nature lift my spirits, but the fresh air, sunshine, sounds of nature (or my music, depends on the day), sights of the birds (the hawks are my favorite), trees (and sometimes deer, bunnies and even coyotes) distracts me from the stress of the world, even if just for precious mindful moments.

The below article highlights the concept of Nature Therapy and outlines how sometimes we should consider using the sights and sounds of the outdoor world around us for valuable healing opportunities.

The Hamilton Spectator:  Nature might be the prescription for what ails you

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O-Tip of the Week: Identify What is Helping and What is Hindering Your Success

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of January our O-Tip series will concentrate on creating achievable resolutions and goals for the new year.

When working to achieve any goal there will be things that both help you and hinder you.  We refer to these as facilitators and barriers respectively.  When planning goals identify the facilitators and barriers you expect and have available to you.  This step will help you to create an achievable plan.  It is also helpful, when you regularly monitor your progress, to identify unanticipated barriers and facilitators you have found while trying to achieve your goal.

Try using our FREE printable Barrier and Facilitator Goal Planning Worksheets (below) to get you closer to success today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Healthcare for All Canadians

Guest Blogger Lauren Heinken, Student Occupational Therapist

For anyone with an interest in how Canada’s single-payer medicare system works and how it may be improved, this book written by Dr. Danielle Martin and released earlier this year is a must-read. Although it is written from a medical perspective, the author appreciates that an individual’s health is dependent on much more than biology, and the active role individuals need to play in their own medical care is emphasized throughout the book. Dr. Martin takes the time to acknowledge the psychosocial factors that can impact well-being, and as a whole her perspective aligns well with the profession of Occupational Therapists. Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Healthcare for All Canadians is written in such a way that it can be appreciated by anyone who reads it, but those who have direct contact or personal experience with Canada’s medical system may benefit the most from it’s content.

The book’s introduction showcases Dr. Martin’s rational stance on many issues that at times provoke excessive fear amongst Canadians. An example of such an issue is the economic impact that the country’s aging population may have on the healthcare system. This book is able to provide an alternative, and often more optimistic view, on these “hot” issues compared with the fear-provoking opinions that are often shared through other media sources.

Each of the “six big ideas” discussed in this book form a chapter, and each chapter begins with Dr. Martin introducing a real-life patient case that demonstrates and supports the idea. Aside from providing a human component to the systems-level issues discussed in this book, these patient cases are useful in providing an opportunity for readers to apply chapter content to an actual user of the healthcare system. This helps facilitates readers being able to wrap their heads around what truly are “big ideas”.

You may be questioning what the relevance of this book is to OT practice. An issue identified within the book is that our medical system tends to be one that is largely disjointed, with different parts of the system often not communicating clearly with one another. This lack of connectivity comes at a cost to both individuals who use the system and those who fund it. Although implementation of better communication technology will play a large part in addressing this problem, I would argue that it could at least be improved if health practitioners and those administering the system knew a little bit more about what each other did. This book is a good way for OTs to learn more about the medical system, and they may potentially use this knowledge to influence a smoother and more cohesive system experience for their clients. It also better equips OTs to provide appropriate answers to questions they might be asked that relate to navigating the healthcare system.

The only disappointment in this book is the absence of the OT profession when Dr. Martin speaks to “other healthcare professionals”. OTs have the potential to make big contributions to proactive healthcare, but also to improving how the system functions and these are not explicitly considered in this book. However, OTs know their scopes best and have the skills to advocate for their contributions, so their absence in this book creates an opportunity for them to fill the gap.   How?  Stay-tuned for this to be discussed in a later blog post. 

 

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O-Tip of the Week: Get into the Habit…

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of January our O-Tip series will concentrate on creating achievable resolutions and goals for the new year.

If you’re wanting your resolutions to stick long-term you need to turn the healthy behaviours into healthy habits.  Learn how to create lasting habits that will help you reach your goals in the following post from our blog, featuring a free printable habit tracker!

Solutions for Living:  Forming Healthy Habits