Occupational therapists are health care professionals who help people to resume or maintain participation in a variety of tasks – their jobs, leisure and social activities, getting around, caring for themselves and their home, and much more. Occupational therapy is an evidence-based practice, with a focus on how that function affects the ability to do the things that are important to them. Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.
When there are barriers preventing someone from participating in daily activities, occupational therapists help people to:
- learn new ways of doing things
- regain skills and develop new ones
- use materials or equipment that makes life easier, or
- adapt their environment to work better for them.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
- An individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals. Assessments may include :
- physical abilities like strength, balance, and coordination
- cognitive abilities like memory, coping strategies and organizational skills
- material or devices you use to participate in daily life like mobility aids, utensils, furniture.
- Social and emotional support available at home, school, work, or in the community
- physical setup of your house, classroom, workplace or other environment
- Customized treatment plans to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach their goals.
- Adaptive equipment and environmental recommendations and usage training.
- An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
- Guidance to family members and caregivers
Occupational therapists are:
- university educated professionals that apply their specialized knowledge and skills to recommend a course of preventive or corrective action that will help people lead more productive and satisfying lives,
- trained to understand not only the medical and physical limitations of a disability or injury, but also the psychosocial factors that affect the functioning of the whole person.
- a regulated medical profession; occupational therapists must be registered with their provincial regulator in order to practice legally in Canada.