You may have heard of Occupational Therapy but are not exactly sure how this profession can help you and how you can go about finding one to suit you.
Firstly the term “Occupational Therapy” can often be confusing as it may carry the misconception that the therapy is offered at areas of employment or that is is vocational counselling and job training. The webster’s dictionary meaning of the the word “Occupation” is “an activity in which one engages”. This activity is therefore not restricted to a work task but is much broader and can incorporate an activity a child likes to play through to the activity of an adult making a cup of tea.
Occupational Therapy focuses on promoting health and well being through occupation by enabling people to participate in activities of their every day life. There are a number of ways Occupational Therapists achieve this.
- Community Engagement – working with the client and their community to engage in the occupations they want to, need to or are expected to do
- Environment Modification – using the right equipment and aids to alter the environment or occupation of the client to better support them.
There are different kinds of Occupational Therapists, who are also known as OT’s. They specialise in a certain area of Therapy such as Paediatrics, speech therapy, mental health, injury management, rehabilitation and aged care to name a few. They spend a large portion of their time identifying environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities. When an OT works takes on a case they are focused on helping you to progress towards your goals by making adaptions within your daily environment as well as adjusting tasks, training a new skill and educating the family and primary carers who are involved in the performance of these daily activities.
An OT will work directly with Patient Handling who specialise in products that can assist with injury management, daily living aids, rehabilitation and Aged Care to ensure they customers are properly assessed by a qualified professional. This ensures the OT’s client receives the best possible equipment or aid for their needs.
If you are aged or experience mobility issues and would like some assistance with your daily living then an OT can assess your home for you and make recommendations for some of the many products out there on the market designed to improve your comfort and sense of well being. For example, they may prescribe you with simple solutions in the kitchen such as battery operated one touch can opener and one touch jar openers and tipping kettles that don’t need to be lifted when pouring boiling water. If you have trouble getting in and out of a car then a handy bar which is hooked over the door latch and acts like a handle to hold onto when pushing yourself up from the car seat may be recommended for you. For more complex mobility issues a Power wheelchair with custom seating system may be prescribed or a portable patient lifter.
Occupational Therapists work at a variety of business types. These include public and private hospitals, rehabilitation centres, community centres, aged care facilities and private practice. If you feel that you are in need of an assessment then you can find them at many of these places.