Occupational Therapy – what does it mean?
Quite simply, Occupational Therapists (abbreviated to OT) help people of all ages to carry out everyday activities which are essential for health and wellbeing. These daily tasks can range from making a cup of tea, using the toilet, manging stairs or visiting the local shop. It’s a way of giving back some independence to patients who are recovering from any type of illness or injury for example, a stroke, a fall, or people who are suffering from progressive diseases such as Parkinson’s or Muscular Dystrophy. These services reduce the need for carer support or preventing admissions to care homes in the case of elderly patients. They also minimise stress on the NHS to free beds and services for other sick people. OTs tend to work in three main areas; self-care (bathing, feeding etc), productivity (work, volunteering etc) and leisure (sport, music, socialising etc). The client is at the centre of an OTs focus, providing them with a tailored care plan to enable them to live their lives to the fullest.
The Life of an Occupational Therapist
The role of Occupational Therapist is diverse, and often sees them working in many different settings. The Occupational Therapists at Therapies on Thames provide home visits to assess the client’s living conditions and ensure they are as comfortable as they can be at home. They can also provide their services within a hospital/inpatient rehabilitation unit, care home or other institution to suit the client’s particular needs. Liaising with equipment vendors to gain knowledge on the best solutions for their clients is also part of the job, for example; stairlifts, bath lifts and walking frames. Of course, as with any job in healthcare, processing paperwork can be time consuming but necessary task for an OT in order for clients to receive their treatment plans quickly and effectively.
How can we support care agencies and care home sector?
The Benefits of Occupational Therapy
An OT doesn’t just help clients recover at home, they can also flag any potential fall risks or possible hazards. Following an initial assessment, they can then help to adjust the client’s home and surroundings to avoid any further accidents from occurring. They can also advise on modifications to the home to ensure it is the safest place for the patient to be. Modifications can include hand rails, walk-in bath tubs long reach grabbers, for example. In the case of the elderly, regaining independence after an illness or fall can improve their quality of life and promote better mental health which can only lead to a healthier lifestyle in the long run.