What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a unique profession that recognises the important link between a person’s health and wellbeing and their ability to carry out activities of daily living independently.

An Occupational Therapist (OT) focuses on developing, recovering or maintaining the daily living and working skills of people with a disability or illness. They provide support and assistance to people who, through illness, injury, trauma, aging or disability are experiencing difficulties with carrying out tasks and activities that are important and meaningful to them.

Occupational Therapists (OT’s) are skilled professionals who find solutions to everyday problems, enabling individuals to reach their full potential.

OT’s provide practical advice and therapeutic interventions to help overcome barriers to participation and help aid recovery. They support people to carry out activities they wish or need to do in order to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

OT’s work with adults and children of all ages. An OT can work in a variety of different settings. This includes hospitals, social services teams in the community, people’s homes, residential settings, schools, prisons, day care facilities, voluntary organisations GP surgeries and workplaces.

OT’s work with a variety of conditions including mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical illnesses such as stroke, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s to name a few.

How Could Occupational Therapy Help You?

Occupational therapists (OTs) can help people overcome everyday difficulties and stay independent for longer by providing advice on new techniques to continue to complete everyday activities such as dressing and meal preparation for as long as possible as the condition progresses. An OT can assess you at home or in your work place and ascertain which areas you are having difficulty with. They can then make recommendations to enable you to manage day to day tasks easier and remain independent for as long as possible.

They can:

  • Advise on safer ways to manage transfers around the house, for example in / out of chairs, on / off the toilet or on / off the bed.
  • Look at areas such as the bathroom and stair mobility and make longer term recommendations to ensure the home environment will meet both your short term and future needs. This includes considering adaptations such as wet rooms, adapted kitchens or through floor lifts.
  • Ensuring the correct seating, mobility aids and wheelchair are provided to maximise your function and independence. OT’s can refer onto other agencies such as a Physiotherapist for a more comprehensive mobility assessment.
  • Working with a client and their employer to advise on ways to remain at work for as long as feasible. This may involve looking at ways of travelling to work, how to maximise energy or investigate workplace changes such as the provision of equipment and minor adaptations such as rails.
  • Helping manage fatigue and tiredness by identifying priorities for the day and conserving your energy for those activities whether that be preparing dinner for the children or maintaining your work role.
  • Recommending environmental controls which allow the control of functions in the home such as opening curtains, turning on lights or the TV to be controlled from your wheelchair, armchair or bed. An will work with a client to identify the most suitable environmental controls for them that will preserve your independence for as long as possible.
  • An OT can show you techniques and recommend equipment to help you get in and out of your car independently. The OT may also suggest adaptations to your vehicle to keep you safe while driving.
  • An OT can support you and your family to live positively, helping you to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t; for example, by assisting you to establish personal goals.
  • Signpost you to other organisations such as charities or other professional who may be able to support you too.

How can we help?