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What is Occupational Therapy?

Did you know that April is Occupational Therapy Month? Please take a moment to thank an occupational therapy professional for the work they do in your community.

On today’s episode of Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat, we have Jennifer Hedgepeth, a clinical liaison certified occupational therapist assistant with Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota.

Jennifer talks to us about what occupational therapy is and how it differs from physical therapy.

Note: High-speed internet was giving us some challenges during the chat, so you may experience a lag in parts of the video!

To reach out to Jennifer Hedgepeth or to learn more about Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, there are a number of ways to get in touch:

Contact Jennifer Hedgepeth

Direct: (941) 376-6904


Hospital Information


Main Phone: (941) 921-8600

Address: 6400 Edgelake Dr Sarasota, FL 34240

#occupationaltherapy #seniorcare #therapy #therapist #occupationaltherapist

#occupationaltherapistassistant #homehelpersbradenton


[Jonathan] Hello and welcome to this edition of Home Helper's Water Cooler Chat. I'm Jonathan Marsh. I'm the owner of Home Helpers.

Did you know that April is occupational Therapy Month? Well, if you didn't know, I didn't know either until recently.

Today I have with me a special guest Jennifer Hedgepeth of Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota. She's a clinical liaison, but also a certified occupational therapist assistant.

Jennifer, I want to thank you for joining us today. How are you doing?

[Jennifer] I'm doing well, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.

[Jonathan] Thank you. Thank you. So I want to go ahead and dive into it. The first question I have for you, Jennifer, is what is occupational therapy and why is it important.

[Jennifer] Well, that's a great question, Jonathan, and we get that all the time. Occupational therapy is a great career. It involves working with a wide range of ages, from birth to the senior industry, which is where I'm at now. And what we do is help them become more independent with their activities of daily living or called ADLs.

So, activities of daily living are what we would consider, what we need to do every day to take care of ourselves: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, making a meal, driving a car, and homemaking tasks. Occupational therapy really deals with the activities of daily living or the occupation of living.

I know if I had a nickel for every time somebody asked me if I was going to find them a job, I could retire from the money that I've made from those questions.

[Jonathan] That makes a lot of sense. So, I really appreciate that definition. I think one of the misconceptions or misunderstandings about occupational therapy is that it's the same thing as physical therapy. So, what is the difference between the two?

[Jennifer] Another good question, Jonathan. We get that all the time also. The difference really with occupational therapy and physical therapy is about function. It's about returning to being independent with the things that we need to do every day to take care of ourselves.

Occupational therapy deals with the function of bathing, dressing, and toileting. As I mentioned before, physical therapy deals with function also, but mainly for ambulation, balance, and being able to transfer yourself on and off the toilet, in and out of bed. So really the difference is in function. So occupational therapy deals more with function for everything you need to do every day, and physical therapy deals with the function of walking, balance, and transfers.

[Jonathan] And that makes a lot of sense, and I hope that's been very educational for our audience.

So, Jennifer, I want to be able to give you a moment to talk a little bit more about Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota.

[Jennifer] Thanks, Jonathan. Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota is the only standalone inpatient rehab hospital in the area. We have 116 beds and over 130 specialists on staff. We're also a stroke center of excellence. We're able to admit from home and don't require a doctor's order or a three-night hospital stay. On average, you receive about 3 hours of therapy a day. That includes PT and OT and, if you require speech therapy on top of that, that is in addition to the 3 hours of therapy that you receive from the OT/PT side of that.

I also wanted to mention that when you are admitted to Encompass Rehab Hospital, you stay with the same nurses, you stay with the same therapists. So that way you have an amazing continuum of care and those therapists really get to know you, your family, and your needs upon discharge.

[Jonathan] Excellent. Excellent. So, I encourage all of my audience if you have a need for the services mentioned by Jennifer at Encompass Hospital, please do not hesitate to reach out to her.

Jenn, anything else before you head out?

[Jennifer] No, thank you so much, Jonathan. I appreciate the opportunity to let your audience know what occupational therapy is and how amazing Encompass Rehab Hospital is too.

[Jonathan] And it definitely is amazing. Thank you, everyone, for joining us for this episode of Home Helpers. And until next time. We'll see you soon. Take care.


Home Helpers of Bradenton is one of the region's leading home care franchises specializing in comprehensive services for seniors. Home Helpers' sole mission is to make life easier for clients and their families. Based in Bradenton, Florida, the company serves all of Manatee County, including the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Palmetto, and Parrish. For more information or to request a free in-home care assessment, contact our office at (941) 499-5946 or visit our website at