What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapists and support workers help people engage as independently as possible in the activities (occupations) which enhance their health and wellbeing.

'The treatment of people with physical and psychiatric illness or disability through specific selected occupation for the purpose of enabling individuals to reach their maximum level of functioning and independence in all aspects of life. The occupational therapist assesses the physical, psychological and social functions of the individual, identifies areas of dysfunction and involves the individual in a structured programme of activity to overcome disability. The activity selected will relate to the consumers personal, social, cultural and economic needs and will reflect the environmental factors which govern his/her life.’ College of Occupational Therapy 2000

For further information on the College of Occupational Therapy, visit www.cot.co.uk

Occupational Therapy enables those who are recovering from illness, or adapting to permanent or temporary disability, to be as independent as possible. Intervention is directed towards:

  • providing comprehensive assessment
  • improving or maintaining functional levels
  • organising a safe home environment
  • facilitating discharge from hospital
  • ensuring, when appropriate, continuing rehabilitation at home

Examples of occupational therapy intervention in a hospital setting may include:

  • Assessment of activities of daily living (ADL)
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Providing equipment to enable ongoing independence following discharge from hospital
  • Training in alternative techniques and use of equipment to achieve independence.
  • Home visits and adaptation of the home environment
  • Splinting to aid good position, prevention of contracture and return of function
  • Providing advice to patient and carers
  • Promotion of health and coping strategies.
  • Planning and facilitating hospital discharge
  • Mobilisation of joints, building up strength, dexterity and work tolerance
  • Retraining in specific movements and skill

Assessment for the provision of wheelchairs when there is a long term need (over 6 months).