What is occupational therapy?
Life is made up of meaningful daily activities or occupations, for example; going for a walk with your dog, gardening, preparing a meal, painting, doing laundry, and playing games. Occupations are part of life; they define us and they reflect our way of perceiving ourselves. Occupations give meaning to life. When we cannot participate in daily occupations due to injury, illness, disability, or social or environmental circumstances, occupational therapists can help us find solutions that will allow us to participate in meaningful everyday activities. The occupational therapist works in collaboration with other health professionals when it is deemed relevant.
Symptoms of mental disorders have a significant impact on daily activities, which for some can lead to temporary disability including being off work. The occupational therapist works with the individual on concrete strategies and supports them in resuming their activities so that they can find a balance between what they want, have to do and are required to do. Through individual sessions, the occupational therapist can provide education, teach and develop different management strategies such as relaxation, sleep hygiene, better management of energy and tasks, etc. The occupational therapist uses coaching strategies to support the client in identifying their values, interests and strengths as well as setting up realistic activities and goals to acquire those different strategies and resume activities.
Accommodation in the workplace:
A workplace intervention with the objective of reducing the risk of injury or recurrence and offering specific strategies to the employee to facilitate the return and / or stay at work. This is a service often used to teach safe postural / biomechanical techniques, provide cognitive strategies to an employee who returns to work after a long absence or to reduce risks of absence.
Return to Work Program:
An individualized and structured program with the objective of favoring the gradual reintegration of the client into his work environment, following an injury, health related condition or illness. Such a program may include outlining a gradual return to work schedule, recommends temporary modifications of tasks, education of healthy postures and manual handling techniques or recommend equipment all to meet the client's unique functional abilities due to their health condition with the goal of returning to work. The occupational therapist provides follow-up and supervision throughout the reintegration process.
Occupational therapy rehabilitation for the management of persistent pain and other chronic conditions (invisible condition):
Designed for the client who is unable to self-manage the persistent pain resulting from physical impairment and who have difficulty doing activities that give their life meaning. The occupational therapist supports the client in learning about their pain system and developing strategies to better manage their time and energy, improve sleep, reduce the impact of stress, fatigue and pain, set up new habits, improve your ability to organize yourself in your day and week as well as build connections to reduce isolation. Often times, integrating new self management strategies result in reducing the experience of pain.
Ergonomic analysis and adaptation of a workstation:
An assessment of an employee’s work environment to identify the risk factors related to work methods as well as to the various elements of at the job including tools, equipment, tasks, organization, technology and the environment. The occupational therapist can then suggest task modification strategies and recommend adaptations and specialized equipment as needed.
Assessment of functional autonomy and home safety:
The occupational therapist visits the home to assess the daily functioning of the individual. With the help of interviews, scenarios and observations, the occupational therapist analyzes the difficulties in performing daily activities (eg: safety in the performance of transfers, bathing, meal prep, etc) and related environmental barriers. This will then offer recommendations for technical aids, possible home renovation and / or strategy to improve functioning and safety when participating in significant activities.