It can be often unclear what comes under the umbrella term occupational therapy. Jobs within this field can vary depending on what type of person the therapy is being provided for. In this article I will briefly outline the various roles within occupational therapy and who can benefit from them.
A large amount of the time, occupational therapists work with patients who have permanent disabilities. This can be through a variety of things, such as making improvements at home or at work for a patient to have the means and independence of performing day to day tasks.
Occupational therapy is beneficial to many young children with mental and physical disabilities, this often takes a very different role to someone who has become disabled later on in life, thus the type of help and aid that is given will differ.
It is also very rewarding at the other end of the spectrum, with the elderly. An occupational therapist can help an older person’s life become more active and independent; this can be done by varying their environments, providing and teaching how to use certain tools that can alleviate harder movements.
Occupational therapy can also benefit many different types of mental health issues. Usually, an occupational therapist’s role within the realm of mental health will be helping a patient being able to cope with daily life. How this achieved though will be different from patient to patient; with anything from management skills, to use of public of transport.
It can also help those who are terminally ill, as needs will increase when it comes to end-of-life support. Occupational therapy can help with functions that will be impaired, both work and play. But they can also help a patient in this hard time find self-importance and independence.
Occupational therapists can also work as part of an interdisciplinary team to help patients with chronic pain. Often the therapist’s job, will be to help develop active self-management strategies to help individuals be able to independently help themselves where possible to cope, to some degree, with their chronic pain. These management strategies can be done in their own right, or based within an aim to help people get back to work, or a certain level of independence, such as living at home instead of hospital.
I hope this show the variety of what is meant by occupational therapy and the various specialities and skillsets that are needed in these various roles.