​The Role of an Occupational Therapist

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Occupational
therapists (OT) works with individuals of all ages to encourage and enable
effective participation in the occupations of everyday life. Occupational
therapists work with people who experience difficulties in these areas for any
reason and are present in both physical disability and mental health services. Occupational
therapists also aim to facilitate successful adoptions of disruptions in
lifestyle, prevent losses of function and improve or maintain phycological
status.


The occupations of everyday life
include:

  • Activities
    of daily living: Self-care activities such as showering, dressing,
    grooming and eating
  • Household
    and community functioning: Home maintenance, driving, budgeting, shopping
    and community mobility
  • Education:
    Activities which allow a person to participate effectively in a learning
    environment
  • Leisure
    and play
  • Social
    participation: Interacting positively with others in the community
  • Work
    (paid and unpaid): Participating in employment and volunteer activities

    Occupational
    therapists are also able to assess and recommend assistive technology or
    environmental modifications that will assist individuals in engaging in the
    occupations of everyday life.

     

    Occupational
    therapists are also able to assess and recommend assistive technology or
    environmental modifications that will assist individuals in engaging in the
    occupations of everyday life. In these cases they will work closely with specialist mobility equipment suppliers to ensure their client receives equipment that best suits
    their needs

    Where do occupational
    therapists practice?


    Occupational therapists practice in a wide range of both public and private
    settings. Including community health centres, aged care facilities, education
    facilities, both public and private hospitals, mental health settings, private
    clinics and non-government, peoples home, alcohol and drugs services,
    universities, everywhere.

    When should I see an
    occupational therapist?

    There
    are many reasons why an individual could benefit from consulting an
    occupational therapist. This might include accessing assistance to adjust to
    life after acquiring a short- or long-term illness or disability, sustaining an
    injury, or are in a period of major life adjustment which is impacting the
    individual’s health and wellbeing. An occupational therapist works with
    individuals with both physical and mental health illnesses and disabilities.
    Some key areas of practices and activity where an occupational therapist could
    provide support include.

    • Daily living activities
      such as showering, dressing, grooming, eating;
    • Multi-step activities
      that may involve caring for others such as household management activities,
      shopping, childcare, budgeting, banking, financial management, home
      maintenance, driving;
    • Education activities
      which allow a person to participate as a learner in a learning environment;
    • Leisure and play
      activities;
    • Social participation;
    • Work (paid and
      unpaid).

    What
    services do occupational therapists provide?

    Occupational
    therapists offer a broad range of services to individuals and groups, or they
    can provide assistance at a more strategic level. Their support may include:

    • Skill
      development in self-care, self-management, home management, and
      community/work/school reintegration;
    • Education
      and support of individuals, including family members, caregivers, and
      others, through collaborative and consultative partnerships and
      family-centred approaches;
    • Care
      coordination, case management, transition services including discharge
      planning, client advocacy and onward referral to relevant services;
    • Assessment,
      customisation and oversight of equipment provision including orthotic
      devices, and training in the use of prosthetic devices;
    • Driver
      rehabilitation and community mobility;
    • Use
      of a range of specific therapeutic procedures to enhance performance such
      as wound care management, techniques to enhance sensory, perceptual, and
      cognitive processing, and manual therapy technique skills.

    How
    are occupational therapists qualified?

    In
    order to practise, occupational therapists must meet the following
    requirements:

    • Complete
      a recognised undergraduate or masters entry-level course in occupational
      therapy;
    • Complete
      a minimum of 30 hours per year of continuing professional development; and
    • Meet
      national regulatory requirements as set out by the Occupational Therapy
      Board of Australia for the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation
      Agency.

    For further information on Occupational Therapy, visit the government website Better Health Victoria

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