Occupational therapy 

An occupational therapist explains what occupational therapy involves, who can benefit and the different types of help that are available.

How to access occupational therapy

Transcript of Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy helps people do as much as they can for themselves.

So to be more independent with day-to-day activities.

And it might be people who have mental health problems,

or physical problems, or learning disabilities, or dementia,

to work towards goals they want to achieve in life.

This might be simple tasks such as shopping,

cooking for themselves, getting themselves washed and dressed,

or it could be longer term things like work experience

or succeeding at education.

When somebody first comes into occupational therapy

usually something called an assessment will take place.

This is where the occupational therapist

sees the person doing day-to-day activities,

it might be anything from making a cup of tea

to going out, accessing different college environments for example.

And then after that the occupational therapist will work out

what practical day-to-day things that person is struggling with.

So people who say have had a stroke may only have the use of one arm,

so it might be that we teach them how to do one-handed tasks,

or to get them to use their other arm again.

We'd do a lot of practising and grade the activity,

so make tea making quite simple in the first instance.

Set things up so they get used to doing it for themselves.

You'll find us working in hospitals or in community settings.

So in hospitals we might do some ward based work with patients.

We might work with them in a kitchen

getting them used to doing different activities,

or we might see them in the bathrooms

and see where they're struggling and what equipment they might need.

It might also be that we're starting with them in the communities,

so how we can keep them out of hospital or from going into care.

We might provide them with equipment or do adaptations to their homes

so that they can continue to live there.

Nowadays, I think, a lot more employers

are open to employing people who have a disability,

so it might be that we have to change the workplace somewhat.

And that could be the physical surroundings,

making things more accessible for people,

or it could also be the social surroundings,

helping employers understand that person's problems

and what they might need to accommodate them.

You could get one bus up to here and get another bus along here.

A lot of it is about teaching people to live independently.

It opens doors for them and they have this opportunity to try something.

They may need some help to do that in the first instance,

but gradually, step by step, they become more able

and it might be that they become independent

and can do it all for themselves in the end.

It might be that they can't,

but they still have that opportunity to participate in that.

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