Occupational Therapy: Living Life To Its Fullest

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CE Article - Beyond The Workplace: Applying Ergonomic Treatment Strategies to Clients Across The Life Span

Cynthia Quinnelly, MS, OTR/L, CHT, CEAS I and Sara J. Schroeder, MS, OTR/L, CHT

Earn .1 AOTA CEU (1.25 NBCOT PDU/1 contact hour)

Ergonomics has long been associated with improving work performance both within its own realm and as a component of occupational therapy practice. Ergonomic evaluation and intervention can also be effective when treating other conditions that do not include the worker population or work-related tasks. Whereas the worker population typically falls within young to middle adulthood, ergonomic principles can play a role in promoting the health and wellness of individuals across the life span. Ergonomic principles play an important role in effectively performing activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, instrumental ADLs (IADLs), leisure pursuits, social participation, and learning, all of which occupational therapy practitioners can improve by changing underlying issues regarding body posture and position, environmental concerns, and other aspects of activity demands. This article will outline the evolution of ergonomics in the profession and provide a general overview of ergonomic principles. Case examples will further illustrate how ergonomic evaluation and intervention can be implemented in both a rehabilitative and health promotion framework. Examples include using backpack safety strategies with children, helping new mothers safely perform child care–related tasks, advising middle-aged adults on balancing family and career responsibilities, and guiding older adults with gardening as a leisure activity.

Learning Objectives
After reading this article, you should be able to:

  1. Identify ergonomic interventions related to occupation, in order to improve performance skills across the life span.
  2. Recognize how basic ergonomic principles help clients engage in meaningful occupations using a prevention/wellness or rehabilitative model.
  3. Identify the role of ergonomics outside of facilitating work performance and promoting participation in ADLs, IADLs, and leisure tasks.

Learning Level: Intermediate

Target Audience: Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants

Content Focus: Category 1: Domain of OT; Category 2: Occupational Therapy Process

Reference Information:
Quinnelly, C., Schroeder, S., (2013). Beyond the Workplace: Applying Ergonomic Treatment Strategies to Clients Across the Life Span. OT Practice, 18(6), CE-1–CE-8

Additional Details:

SKU: CEA0613
Product Type: Download
Year Published: 2013

  • AOTA Continuing Education
  • Practitioner
  • Continuing Education
  • Across Practice Areas/General Practice
  • Ergonomics