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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

How Occupational Therapy can Help?

We have expanded our therapy team and have brought on an Occupational Therapist (OT) to increase the range of therapeutic services available to clients. In light of this, we thought it would provide an ideal opportunity to let you know about the benefits of seeing an OT and how an OT can help young people and seniors.

What is Occupational Therapy? Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement

Occupational therapy is used when someone is having difficulty with everyday tasks. An occupational therapist can identify strengths and barriers, such as dressing or getting to the shops, and will help work out practical solutions. An OT can help maintain, regain or improve independence by using different techniques, changing the environment and using new equipment.

OTs work with people of any age, including children and older people, to help them do things that occupy their time. These can include:

  • looking after yourself

  • work or school

  • social activities

  • being part of your community

What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapists also help people to manage and live with long-term (chronic) health conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. Occupational therapists are experts in the relationships between what people do and their health and well-being, and work with people to help make every day living easier. Occupational therapists assist people to manage ongoing symptoms and prevent complications by:

  • building their knowledge and skills

  • finding new ways of doing activities

  • changing the environment to suit their needs

Occupational therapists can also prescribe, if necessary, devices and therapy equipment to help you do the activities you want and need to do. They will make sure you can use the device in the best way to meet your needs. This means that you will get a total solution and not just a product.

OT's believe that an essential part of healing is being able to participate in the daily activities that you find meaningful. For a child, this might mean playing with friends. For an adult, this might mean being able to fix a meal for your loved ones. We OT's call these meaningful daily routines "activities of daily living." These basic building blocks of daily life can become difficult after an injury, disability, or illness, and occupational therapy professionals help you develop the skills to participate in these activities with confidence. OT's can also assist by:

  • helping you, or someone you know, after an accident or illness, or who has a disability or mental illness

  • working with children such as those with learning difficulties

  • developing strategies to help with a disability or mental health issues

  • helping improve your confidence in social situations

Will occupational therapy benefit me? OT's are helpful to many different people, old and young. Your doctor, nurse or other health or social care professional can help decide if it might be suitable for your needs. In palliative care OT's focus on optimising participation and function and this is achieved through the prescription of assistive equipment, task analysis, adaptation and energy conservation, symptom management eg, relaxation, positioning, home modifications, and education of patients and carers.

Supportive counselling, particularly in relation to functional decline and occupational loss, is a core part of a palliative care occupational therapist's practice. Interventions must be person-centred and decision making of patients and carers can be informed by OT knowledge, along with that of the multidisciplinary team where present.

Your child might see an occupational therapist (OT) if they are having trouble doing everyday activities because of physical, psychological or emotional problems, developmental delay or intellectual disability. OTs work with children who can’t take full part in everyday life for some reason. The OT’s job is to help your child develop independent living skills and participate to the best of their ability in everyday activities.

OT's consider all areas of your child’s development, including thinking, speech, language, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Occupational therapists also look at your child’s environment, including physical, social or legislative barriers that can make life hard for your child, and try to find ways of improving the environment or working around these barriers.

Our new OT Shauna is available to see clients now, if you want to find out more of what we offer, visit our website here

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