What do Occupational Therapists do, and who can benefit?
Occupational therapy is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Occupational Therapists are skilled and highly trained professionals who often work closely with other health or social care professionals (physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, social workers) to help find solutions to everyday problems.
Occupational Therapists can greatly assist when someone is having difficulty with everyday tasks such as washing & dressing, bathing or showering, cooking and eating, using the toilet or personal grooming. This could be because they have a:
medical condition – for example, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s Disease etc
mental health condition – e.g. bipolar disorder
Occupational Therapists can also help when someone has recently undergone surgery in hospital and requires support with practical tasks or activities as they recover.
Read more about occupational therapy and rehabilitation: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/occupational-therapy/Pages/rehabilitation.aspx
Occupational Therapists can show you how to approach a task differently, using equipment or assistive technology, adapting your living or working environment, and finding strategies to reach your chosen goals.
For more information about techniques and strategies used and taught by occupational therapists read: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/occupational-therapy/Pages/techniques-and-equipment.aspx
So what’s the difference between Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy?
The easiest way to describe the difference between physiotherapy and occupational therapy is that a physiotherapist treats a person’s actual impairment, while an occupational therapist treats that impairment in action.
Physiotherapists help you to move – Occupational therapists help you to dance!!!
A physiotherapist tries to improve the impairment itself by increasing mobility or range of movement, aligning bones and joints or lessening pain. An occupational therapist helps a person to complete necessary, everyday tasks with the impairment. An occupational therapist might also use an activity therapeutically (e.g. gardening, photography) to work on certain physical, cognitive or social skills and abilities.
An occupational therapist will consider all your needs - physical, psychological, social and environmental. This support can really make a difference to your life, giving you a renewed sense of identity and purpose, opening up new options and perhaps changing your perspective about the future.