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22 Apr 2016

What is an Occupational Therapist

- Written by Ash Bath

An occupational therapist is someone who works with people of all ages to support them in overcoming disability. Ways they are able to do this is by providing support in all areas of their life. Such as helping them to participate in activities they might have given up on, but mainly to help them keep their independence.

Their job sees them creating individual plans for those that they help, this includes older people, children with disabilities, military servicemen and any other person with additional needs that may require assistance in order for them to fulfil a normal lifestyle. This could include them suggesting changes to be made in the home, for instance a new bathroom or kitchen, but if it’s also needed changes to the workplace or school.  Not only is that the case but once they have got to know the patient, an OT is likely to create a plan that includes activities that are meaningful to them.

In order to do this job an OT will have an abundance of patience, unrivalled ingenuity, incredible determination, common sense and infectious enthusiasm as they are constantly working alongside other people with varying needs. This could be in hospital or in the community as they often visit the homes of their clients. Even though the job has its tough moments, many OT’s believe that there were many more moments that make it all worthwhile. The joy on someone’s face for example, when they help them overcome a day-to-day task would be priceless.

A typical day in the life of an OT may consist of any of the following, but probably lots more too:

  • Informing people of specialist equipment that is available & advising on changes that could be made at home.
  • Creating a rehabilitation plan for an individual, including helping them doing things they may never have been able to do before
  • Teaching people techniques to deal with their condition. This could include everything from holding a pen to learning to walk again.
  • Talking to the people they help, their carers and families. As well as doctors and physiotherapists to make sure everyone is getting the help they need.

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