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What do Occupational Therapists do?

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Our Complete Guide to Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy, often abbreviated to OT, is a very important health-related service which helps individuals to better perform daily tasks, recover from injury, illnesses and some impairments.  In this article we’re going to take a broad look at the work occupational therapists do while highlighting our approach to OT, that of soft tissue therapy and treating musculoskeletal problems.

You can view our occupational therapy service page here.

 

What is Occupational Therapy?

Everyday tasks like playing sport,  cleaning the house, going shopping or even showering might not come easy to everybody, unfortunately. Occupational therapy aims to help people who have trouble with everyday activities as well as those with soft tissue and musculoskeletal problems. Common areas where occupational therapy occurs are:

  • Lifecare
  • School
  • Work
  • Social activity
  • Becoming part of the community
  • Recovery from injury or illness

 

What Does an Occupational Therapist do?

An Occupational Therapist helps people of any age who experience a range of physical or mental health challenges. OTs help their patients to more effectively complete daily activities such as self-care, household activities, education, sports and leisure and play.  An Occupational Therapist is also able to recommend the use of different technologies that would help individuals with disabilities do their daily activities better.

Examples of daily life activities that an OT assists with:

  • Showering, dressing, eating, self-care
  • Household cleaning, shopping for household, driving
  • Fitting into a learning environment such as a school or courses
  • Playing and getting involved in different leisure and relaxing activities
  • Interacting with the community, communication
  • Workplace ergonomics and workplace injuries

 

How much does an Occupational Therapist cost?

Click here to view our occupational fees and pricing.

 

Occupational Therapy Treatment Plans Eligibility

Your GP can refer you to an OT and if eligible, will receive x5 visits per year through Medicare.

To be eligible, occupational therapy must be recommended by your GP as part of your patient treatment plan for a chronic health condition.

 

Areas of Practice

Occupational therapy has many different applications which can differ from one health care system to another.

Note: At My Back Relief Clinic we focus on musculoskeletal health complaints, sports injury, postural problems and related soft tissue therapies.

Different areas of OT practice include the following:

Children and Youth

Therapists works with children and their families, in clinics, at home or in schools. In schools, occupational therapists take care of arranging the space in such a way that children with disabilities can move and feel better. Also, an OT can propose different technologies that will make the school a better environment for the children with special needs.

More than that, occupational therapists facilitate:

  • Effective learning methods for children with difficulties
  • Coping skills to children who manifest serious anxiety disorders
  • Handwriting development skills for children starting in school
  • Transitioning from high-school to employment and independent living
  • Social skills

Health and Wellness

Wellness, physical health and mental health are highly connected and the need for effective treatments across these areas is growing. We focus on occupational therapy for soft tissue injury, musculoskeletal problems, acute and chronic pain conditions and for improving the general quality of life for our patients. Basically, it’s helping patients life free from pain, restriction and injury.

Mental Health

There is a field of occupational therapy that deals with mental health issue. People experiencing mental health diseases such as schizophrenia, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, trauma and others related to stress, may benefit from this area of OT.

Productive Aging

Some occupational therapists focus on productive aging: helping older adults to maintain a meaningful life throughout their later years. For example, therapists work with older people in areas such as driving, low vision problems or even cases of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Visual Impairment

Occupational therapists collaborate with ophthalmologists and other certified low vision therapists to make life easier for a visual-impaired person. This type of therapy is designed for people who have been through serious brain injury or others suffering from visual impairments.

Adult Rehabilitation and Chronic Pain Management

This area of occupational therapy addresses the rehabilitation following a certain kind of injury or impairment. All the physical, cognitive and environmental needs of the person in therapy are considered.

An occupational therapist may work as part of an interdisciplinary chronic pain management team on some of these issues1:

  • Address workplace issues and physical source of disability
  • Teach pain techniques for managing pain on the job
  • Contact employers to obtain job requirement
  • Recommend job retraining
  • Work with other practitioners as part of a multi-modality treatment team
  • Evaluates and monitors treatment outcomes

Work and Industry

Here, an occupational therapist’s job is to help individuals return to work after an injury. OT’s can even simulate certain work tasks to determine the best strategies for the individual to either return to the work environment or resume their normal roles, in varying capacities. This may include workplace ergonomic reviews, therapy after a workplace injury and advice on adopting better posture habits.

We can help in this area.

 

Research Supporting Occupational Therapy

There is a vast body of scientific literature supporting the many benefits of occupational therapy. A visit to the Occupational Therapy Australia website can help you find more resources on this.

A 2014 study2 concluded that allied health practitioners (including occupational therapists) could be a cost-effective and consumer-accepted investment that health services can make to improve patient outcomes.

A study3 published in the Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy concluded that occupational therapy in homes improves older adults workplace performance more effectively than usual practice (home care assistants mainly).

 

Conclusion

Occupational therapy helps people handle situations made difficult through a serious of unhappy circumstances. Therapists can positively influence individuals, their families and entire communities.

Does this sound like a service that you could benefit from? Click on the link below to book your session with our Occupational Therapist or feel free to enquire via phone now.

My Back Relief Clinic

390 New Canterbury Rd
Dulwich Hill NSW 2203

Phone 02 9560 0184

BOOK ONLINE NOW


References

  1. Interdisciplinary chronic pain management (2014) American Psychologist
  2. Saxon, R. L., Gray, M. A., & Oprescu, F. I. (2014). Extended roles for allied health professionals: an updated systematic review of the evidence. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare, 7, 479–488. doi:10.2147/JMDH.S66746
  3. Tove Lise Nielsen, Niels Trolle Andersen, Kirsten Schultz Petersen, Helene Polatajko & Claus Vinther Nielsen (2019) Intensive client-centred occupational therapy in the home improves older adults’ occupational performance. Results from a Danish randomized controlled trial, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 26:5, 325-342, DOI: 10.1080/11038128.2018.1424236

About Duncan Graham

Duncan Graham is an Occupational Therapist at My Back Relief Clinic, Dulwich Hill. He focusses on soft tissue therapy and on improving the function of muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia so that they all work together, allowing his patients to do the things they enjoy. Duncan is dedicated to providing his patients with personable and professional treatment and advice that is specific to each case, to improve quality of life

Duncan has tertiary qualifications: Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) and Master of Occupational Therapy Practices (MOTPrac).

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