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What is Fatigue?
When an Allied health professional refers to fatigue, the cause of that fatigue can be from many different sources. Oftentimes, fatigue is the result of physical conditions such as cardiovascular endurance related to heart failure or a respiratory condition such as COPD or post-stroke complications, it can also be due to mental health.
Our Occupational Therapists are highly skilled in assisting individuals living with fatigue related to both physical and mental health conditions.
We aim to help clients manage fatigue and begin to build their capacity to manage their activities of daily living while progressing to achieve meaningful goals in their lives.
Risks of Fatigue
There are many risks associated with high, poorly managed fatigue levels.
In extreme cases, fatigue due to mental health can severely affect someone’s ability to safely interact with the community. This could result in required support from a hospital admission along with the development of physical signs and symptoms of extreme fatigue.
If somebody is fatigued, they are also less likely to be physically active and look after their personal wellness and hygiene. This can lead to clinical conditions such as decreased muscle mass, falls and frailty due to inactivity or pressure area development due to not changing positions regularly throughout the day.
Our Occupational Therapist will complete a comprehensive assessment and identify manifestations of fatigue. They will also examine how fatigue may be impacting aspects of a client’s life, including activities of daily living at home and in the community.
Beyond individual well-being, fatigue can also affect socialisation and relationships with family and friends.
A comprehensive Occupational Therapy assessment will allow us to work together to define meaningful goals, barriers to working on fatigue, and a therapy approach to support the client in managing their fatigue moving forward.
Energy Conservation, Equipment & Education
To help manage fatigue, Occupational Therapists often recommend energy conservation techniques. It’s important to properly manage and conserve energy levels throughout the day in order to prevent a boom and bust cycle of activity where someone tries to get a lot of things done early because they think that they’ll be fatigued later.
In these cases, oftentimes the reason why people become fatigued later in the day is that they’ve done so much activity in a short period of time. That’s why energy conservation during the day is critical to avoiding intense fatigue.
The Occupational Therapist will evaluate the activities of daily living the client is looking to optimise and what meaningful goals they have. We develop a shared plan and suggested routines for the day so that the client is able to achieve everything they want to accomplish before bedtime.
Fatigue management may involve different types of equipment and/or modifications to the home. Changes to services received under the NDIS may also be required to allow the person to be supported in their environment.
When is the Right Time to Contact Community Therapy?
Community Therapy should be contacted as soon as the signs and symptoms of fatigue are identified.
If you or someone in your care is living with a condition that is likely to cause fatigue, such as the conditions mentioned above, it’s appropriate to have an Occupational Therapy assessment to determine what strategies should be implemented to help alleviate the presence and severity of fatigue.
Most clients will wait until signs and symptoms of fatigue emerge before requesting Occupational Therapy support. However, it’s best to develop an early action plan and start working on strategies as soon as any signs are noted.
Preventative care is always the best approach as we all know.
Client Success Story
An Occupational Therapist from our team was working with a client who was living with both a mental health and neurological condition.
One key focus was managing fatigue levels throughout the day which were impacting his ability to complete tasks of daily living, including normal movements around the house, cleaning, cooking, etc.
The client mentioned that one of the most meaningful activities that he wished to return to was having the energy and motivation to consistently attend to his garden. With support from our Occupational Therapist and weekly therapy sessions focused on energy conservation techniques, routines, and equipment use, the man was able to build his capacity to regularly garden again.
Returning to such a beloved activity not only helps with physical wellbeing, but it can also have a profound positive effect on mental health.
The Occupational Therapist was even able to work with the client to utilise the fruits and vegetables grown from his garden for cooking skills as well. How fantastic!
Ready to Work with Community Therapy?
Community Therapy is an NDIS registered and certified organisation. As a result, we are able to support NDIS participants living with conditions that cause fatigue or impact energy levels.
- We proudly serve the Central Coast, Hunter, and Port Stephens, where our clinicians live and work
- We are multidisciplinary and offer Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapist, Speech Pathology & Dietetics support
- We employ a team of OTs focused on mental health for clients who need additional support
- We are NDIS registered and can support NDIS participants no matter how they manage their NDIS plan