What is Occupational Therapy?

Lady holding cup of tea with Occupational Therapist

What is Occupational Therapy?

This year as part of OT week, Occupational Therapy Australia , is posing the question What is Occupational Therapy?”

Heidi Long who was recently named Australian OT of the year explains “I have lost count of how many times I have been asked that question. I generally define OT as helping people with injury, illness or disability overcome challenges related to everyday activities.  We help people to be as independent as possible and lead safe and meaningful lives.”

The role of an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy has broad application and the role of an OT will vary depending on a client’s goals. For example, someone with limited hand function may have a goal to make a cup of tea safely. An OT can help build hand function and may look at assistive equipment that enables that person to grip and lift the kettle independently and safely.

An OT may have a client who has an intellectual disability and would like to be able to catch a bus to access the community.  The OT would work to overcome challenges related to accessing the bus or problem-solving difficult situations such as bus cancellations.   OTs will provide solutions to meet client goals, working closely with clients across a range of environments.

Growing OT needs in Australia

OTs have skills in assisting the elderly maintain their independence and safety within their homes and local communities.  With the continued growth in Australia’s ageing population the demand for these unique skills has grown and the benefit of engaging OT services has been highlighted.

Changes in the health industry including the introduction of NDIS, has made Occupational Therapy accessible to more Australians.  Occupational Therapy is recognised as playing a pivotal role in improving health outcomes. Assisting with recovery, staying safe, improving independence and increasing participation in social and community activities.

For many Australians without OT assistance they wouldn’t be able to work, shop, cook, learn or live independently. That is why National OT is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to high quality, timely and reliable occupational therapy services regardless of who they are, what they need, and where they live.

This week we celebrate the positive impact Occupational Therapists have on the day to day lives of so many Australians.