Occupational Therapy Photo showing and Occupational Therapist with Elderly Lady

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy involves Occupational Therapists working with people who have a range of physical, mental or social difficulties, the causes of which can vary. There can be difficulties beginning at birth or as the result of an accident, illness or ageing.

Occupational Therapists look at the individual as a whole and enable them to maximise their physical, emotional, cognitive, social and functional potential, through purposeful occupation, as part of a rehabilitation process. Occupational Therapists encourage individuals to do activities independently to the best of their ability.

The result of intervention enables people to make choices and achieve a personally acceptable lifestyle. This can be either the preparation for or return to work, or the development of the quality use of time through leisure, education, training or voluntary work, with the goal of maximizing health and function.

Occupational Therapists utilize a wide variety of strategies and techniques to assist people to achieve their goals and to promote recovery and independence, often finding solutions which are easy to implement and not identified by others in the treating team. Their perspective of performance and activity makes the Occupational Therapists approach different that of both a Nurse and Physiotherapist.

Occupational Therapists, knowledge, skills and attitude:

  • Understand Health and ill health. Physical and mental health.
  • Trained in activity/task analysis, such as grading the activity for the individual.
  • Experienced in problem solving difficult situations and health needs.
  • Able to assess the person, job and the environment.
  • Skilled at focusing on function and reducing impact of illness or injury.
  • Trained in assessment, observation and treatment techniques.
  • Good communicators and co-ordinators.
  • Able to understand the rehabilitation process and skilled team players.
  • Understand Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches to rehabilitation and condition management principles.
  • Understand the roles of other health professionals and individual rehabilitation requirements
  • Outcome orientated.
  • Cost-benefit analysis aware.
  • Mediation for the worker and employee. Collaberation is positive respect, believing that the client and the employer both hold expert knowledge regarding the situation.
  • Assertive and able to face and resolve conflict situations.
  • Understand the Equality Act 2010 and other legislation relevant to the individual.
  • Use specific assessment tools to make the information gained more objective than subjective.
  • Professional, discerning and optimistic.
  • Understand that work is good for you and long term unemployment leads to poor health.