Do you find it difficult to perform activities such as dressing, bathing, cooking, shopping, or any other self-care task, because of pain or stiffness from arthritis, shortness of breath, or any other limitation? Certified occupational therapists are available at National Jewish Health to teach you strategies for making these daily activities easier and less tiring.
Our occupational therapists can assist you in learning:
Efficient Breathing Techniques
Patients are taught to recognize symptoms of normal shortness of breath, chest tightness, hyperventilation as well as other factors that may contribute to emotional stress, overexertion, habitual postures and exposure to environmental irritants. Patients are taught diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lip breathing to help control episodes of shortness of breath. Coordinated breathing with body movements and relaxation techniques are often taught in conjunction with the new breathing patterns, as this can help patients gain better control over their respiratory muscles and overcome poor breathing habits.
Energy Management Skills
We have a home lab that consists of a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and laundry facilities. Our therapists will work with you to determine areas of difficulty with your activities of daily living and functional household tasks to develop alternative methods of performing these activities when necessary. Emphasis is on energy management, pacing and energy conservation techniques. The ability to maintain a comfortable breathing pattern to minimize shortness of breath is stressed.
Patients are encouraged to discuss the stresses and concerns they are experiencing around their illness. Stress management techniques are presented and discussed. Classes are offered to the patient and their family members. It is conducted in an open format, group discussion process. The best solutions or suggestions typically come from the participants. The group is facilitated by an occupational therapist.
These skills will allow you to devote your time and energy to the things that matter most to you.