What is Occupational Therapy?

what is occupational therapy
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Occupational therapy is a medical profession primarily concerned with how people functions in their respective roles and how they perform their activities.

Occupational Therapy allows people to achieve health, well being and life satisfaction through participation in occupation.

In occupational therapy, occupation is the everyday activities that person do as an individual, in families and in communities to spend time and bring some meaning and purpose to their life. Occupations includes things inndividuals need to, wish to and are expected to do.

Occupation is daily activities that reflect cultural values, provide structure to living and meaning to individuals; these activities meet human needs for self care, enjoyment and participation in society.(Willard & Spackman 10th Edition 2003)

Definition of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a client-focused health profession concerned with promoting health and wellbeing through occupation. The main goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life (ADL). To achieve this goal occupational therapists works with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they wish to, need to, or are expected to do. Occupational therapists may also modify the occupation or environment according to need of person to better support their engagement in occupaations.

Occupational therapists have a good knowledge in the medical, social, behavioral, psychological and occupational sciences which provides them with the attitudes, skills and knowledge to work collaboratively with people, individually or in groups or communities. Occupational therapist may work with all people, including

  • Those person who have an impairment of body structure or function due to a health condition
  • Persons who are restricted in their participation due to any functional impairment
  • Individuals who are socially excluded due to their membership of social or cultural minority groups

Occupational therapists believe that participation of individual can be supported or restricted by the physical, affective or cognitive abilities of the individual, the characteristics of the occupation, or the physical, social, cultural, attitudinal and legislative environments. Therefore, occupational therapy practice is mainly focused on enabling individuals to change aspects of their occupation, the environment, or some combination of these to enhance occupational participation.

Occupational therapists practice in a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector settings, such as, the home environment; schools; workplaces, health centers, supported accommodation, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and forensic services. In occupational therapy clients are actively involved in throughtout the intervention/tratment process. The outcomes of OT are client-driven and diverse and measured in terms of participation, satisfaction derived from occupational participation and / or improvement in occupational performance.

Occupational therapy is a health care profession which aim to enable individuals and groups to achieve optimal functioning in activities of daily living including (ADL), self-care, productivity and leisure. Occupational Therapy is meant for people whose abilities of performing activities of daily living, self-care, productivity and leisure are reduced or impaired by development or physical injury or illness, old age, psychologically, socially or culturally or by combination of these.

What does Occupational Therapist do :

  • Assessment and evaluation of the performance of activities of daily living (ADL) which include self-care, productivity and leisure activities
  • OT evaluation of sensory-motor, cognitive and psychosocial skills and their impact on the occupational performance skills
  • Assessment and evaluation of home, employment and socio-cultural environment in which everyday activities are taking place and suggest modifications according to the need
  • Occupational therapist promote, establish, restore, maintain and / or modify the performance of self-care activities such as feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, bathing, functional mobility
  • OT promote, establish, restore, maintain and / or modify the performance of productive activities these includes activities in the household and community, professional roles and tasks, caring, voluntary work
  • Occupational therapist promote, establish, restore, maintain and / or modify the performance of leisure time activities such as play, recreation, hobbies, recreation and leisure
  • Occupational therapists promote, establish, restore, maintain and / or modify the performance of sensory-motor, cognitive and psychosocial components of activities using different methods techniques and therapeutic approache
  • OT helps the clients in adaptation of housing, employment and social environment, according to needs and abilities of the individual,
  • Counselling and education of individuals, groups, family members, caregivers, professionals, students
  • Occupational therapists measures occupational therapy intervention outcomes

Occupational Therapy is a holistic evidence-based client- centered profession of modern health care system, based on science of occupation, with mainly focus on purposeful goal-oriented activities, and also uses latest technological systems for evaluation, diagnosis, education and treatment of the clients of every age group, whose function(s) is (are) impaired by physical, psychosocial and cognitive impairments, development disorders, or the ageing process affecting their quality of life, with the aim to prevent disability, promote health and well-being and return to optimum level of occupational functions.

Specific occupational therapy services include but are not limited to: preventive health literacy, assessment and interventions in activities of daily living (ADL), work and productive activities, play, leisure and spiritual activities; functional capacity analysis, prescription, designing and training in the use of assistive technology, adaptive equipment and splints, and environmental modifications to enhance functional performances.

occupational therapy service

The aims of OT are to help the users of the service:

  • Who are affected by adverse events such as disease, development delays, trauma or deprivation regain or re-engage with their chosen occupations.
  • Overcome physical, psychological and social problems and help in the participation of their chosen occupations and thereby fulfil their roles and responsibilities.
  • Continue to engage in health promoting occupations.
  • Experience meaning and purpose in their lives through participating in relevant occupations.
  • Improve the quality of life and satisfaction with their life along with disability
  • As well as advocate on their behalf and ensuring that their rights for inclusivity is taken into consideration.

Occupational Therapist work involves:

  • Enhancing physical and psychological functions
  • Preventing illnesses
  • Facilitating independent living
  • Improving quality of life and satisfaction of people with disabilities or impairmnet
  • Promoting reintegration to home, work and society

Occupational therapy services may include:

  • Consultations
  • Customized interventions (skills-based or activity-focused)
  • Home and workplace evaluations
  • Prescription of environment adaptations and assistive devices
  • Family/Caregiver education and training

References :

  • Law on health care professionals  (Official Gazette 87/09)


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