As an Occupational Therapist, this is one of the most common questions we get asked. It can also be fairly difficult to answer!
Occupational therapy has it's origins in rehabilitation.
People were provided with occupations to regain physical and mental health and to reestablish their participation in activities.
As a profession, it really found it's place in WW1, when injured soldiers were given activities and tasks to complete from their hospital beds or within the hospital grounds, adapted where necessary to suit their injuries.
Today, the means and the focus may have shifted to reflect modern life, but the principles behind the profession remain the same.
-We address the whole person - physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
- Our focus is on maintaining or regaining function and independence.
- Therapy aim is to remove any barriers to this caused by illness, injury, disability or ageing.
How can Occupational therapy help me?
In an attempt to demystify the profession a little further, here is a Rough Guide to the areas of occupation we might address, what barriers there may be to achieving this occupation and what we might do to break these barriers down.
Occupation: any activity or task we need or want to do - at home, at work, for leisure, in our community and socially. This may include:
self care tasks, eating, sleeping
home care tasks, caring for others, shopping
job performance, volunteering, hobbies
socialising with friends and family
Restrictions to success: a complex web of factors can influence our ability to successfully participate in our chosen activities. These include:
the skills required to complete the task
our physical and mental functioning
the habits and routines we are used to
the context in which we do things - culturally, socially, personally and temporally
Therapy: a multi-faceted approach is provided to meet all identified needs of the physical, mental and social aspects of being human. These include:
education & training
compensatory techniques & adaptations
social & emotional support
So, whatever your goal - putting on your own shoes, kayaking, playing with the grandchildren, or walking down the road with confidence in your stride - let us work with you to help you achieve this; regain, retain, live well.