The College of Occupational Therapy offers the following definition:
“Occupational Therapy provides practical support to enable people to facilitate recovery and overcome any barriers, mental or physical, that prevent them from doing the activities (occupations) that matter to them. This helps to increase people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.”
What do Occupational Therapists do?
The British Association of Occupational Therapists explain that
“Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages, helping them to carry out the activities that they need or want to do in order to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Occupational Therapists (OTs) begin by understanding the difficulties you are having and then through assessment, rehabilitation and adaptations, assist you to complete the activities or occupations you have been struggling with.
OTs look at the physical effects of ageing, disease or injury and while completing interventions to address your functional ability, will also look at the impact this has had on your ability to continue with everyday life at home and being part of your community.
An OT may assess the following areas:
- Your physical ability, such as strength, the range of movement in your limbs, coordination and balance
- Your cognitive ability, such as thinking skills, planning skills and memory
- Adaptations and equipment to help with everyday tasks such as getting washed and dressed, cooking, eating and more technical tasks such as using the computer or phone.
- Your ability to cope with stress and anxiety and how this is affecting your life
- Your home, work or community environment where you are having difficulty.
The information gathered will allow the OT to work closely with the client to make recommendations for rehabilitation or adaptation that will improve independence and give a better quality of life.
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
OTs work wherever they are needed, and this may be:
- your own home
- residential or nursing home
- work environment
- your family’s home
- community setting (bingo/village hall for example)
- sports setting (bowls club/snooker hall for example)
The College of Occupational Therapy confirms that OTs use the best evidence-based information in their practice to enable individuals to rehabilitate and live as independently as they choose.