Occuaptional Therapy in Maternity Services

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Neonatology:

  • Neonatal Occupational Therapy provides individualised habilitation and developmental stimulation to infants based on their ongoing behavioural cues.
  • Special attention is paid to environmental influences and therapists strive to provide family centred care.
  • The underlying philosophies of Occupational Therapy are akin to that of NIDCAP i.e.  individualised, relationship-based, family centred care.

So what services can the Neonatal Occupational Therapist offer?

  • Perioral stimulation (to enhance feeding skills)
  • Therapeutic positioning (to prevent deformities, increase physiological flexion, provide comfort and containment)
  • Splinting (correct deformities)
  • Advice on environmental adaptations (to reduce infantile stress)
  • Sensory Stimulation (tactile, auditory, visual: to develop nerve mylination and reduce stress)
  • Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale to identify infants strengths and weakness.
  • Facilitate self-regulatory capabilities.
  • Information group for parents which incorporates stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Sibling play group.
  • Car seating assessments.
  • Develop individual home programmes for parents to follow at home.
  • Post discharge follow up assessments and interventions.

Who is likely to benefit from Occupational Therapy?

  • Marked prematurity
  • Developmental concerns
  • Abnormal tone
  • Prolonged hospitalisation
  • Sensory impairments
  • Orthopaedic and neurological malformations
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • HIE
  • PVL
  • Parental anxiety

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