What Is Occupational Therapy

What Is Occupational Therapy

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Occupational therapy is a form of healthcare that helps people improve their ability to perform everyday tasks and participate in activities they enjoy.

It applies practical techniques such as task modifications, exercises, adaptive equipment, and environmental work and home modifications to help individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses gain greater independence and improved quality of life.

At OT Brisbane (Occupational Therapy Brisbane), we work with adults living with neurological conditions and offer a range of Occupational Therapy Services.

Read on to also learn more about occupational therapy and how a therapist can help you achieve your goals:

In this article you'll learn:
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    Are Occupational Therapist a certified health practitioner?

    Yes, occupational therapists are certified health practitioners. To become one, you must complete an accredited educational program and pass to a level accepted by the institution. In order to practice in Australia, an OT (occupational therapist) needs to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency or AHPRA for short. You can search AHPRAs data base to check if your therapist is registered.

    No doubt, it’s a lot of work to get the skills and become registered, it’s also an exciting area to work in as professional learning and growth never stops.

    A paper cut out person lifting another up a hill.

    What are the benefits of Occupational Therapy?

    Occupational therapy offers many benefits for people of all ages. It can help individuals gain or regain independenceimprove physical and mental functioningreduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

    OTs also work with families and caregivers to ensure that the  individual’s needs are met in a safe and supportive environment. An occupational therapist may work in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, and community centres, among others.

    The specific work at OT Brisbane  focuses on adults living with neurological conditions like Parkinson’sdementia or acquired brain injury for example. From providing adaptive and specialised equipment to teaching new skills, modifying homes as well as targeting specific thinking and memory skills, occupational therapists are dedicated to helping their clients improve their daily activities and reach their full potential. 

    Image of a smiling female OT

    Are there specialised areas of occupational therapy?

    Yes, there are  specialised areas of occupational therapy. But, your OT won’t be able to say ” Expert X OT” as the profession hasn’t established these areas yet. It may happen though. That said, paediatrics, mental health, work, hands and neurological focused OTs have commonly dedicated their career to these areas of professional interest.

    Therapists can also provide valuable services across a variety of settings in health, aged care, education, work and disability sectors. Each area no doubt has it’s unique needs. That’s why it’s important for OTs to have an in-depth understanding of each speciality so they can provide the best possible support to their clients.

    Here’s a short video to detailing some of the Occupational Therapy Services you can expect with us.

    Are occupational therapist doctors?

    No, occupational therapists are not doctors. While some OTs continue their tertiary education to obtain a PhD, they are not medical doctors. However, they may be referred to as ‘Doctor’ by their commitment and achievement of this level of study and is then a sign of respect they receive from their colleagues and clients.

    Ultimately though, OTs provide specialised therapy services that can help people live better lives. 

    What do occupational therapists do?

    Occupational therapists help people who have difficulty with daily activities due to a physical, mental, or emotional condition. They use practical techniques to enable individuals to gain independence, participate in meaningful everyday activities.

    At Occupational Therapy Brisbane, we’ve made a commitment to best serve adults living with neurological conditions and how their symptoms impact their everyday life.

    For example, adults living with Parkinson’s disease, occupational therapists can provide strategies for dressing, eating, walking, and staying organized; suggest adaptive aids; modify the home environment; and offer group therapy sessions.

    A person being assessed by an Occupational Therapist

    When to see an occupational therapist?

    Are you having trouble with everyday activities? Are you feeling frustrated, or like your quality of life isn’t what it used to be? If so, it might be time to see an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy can help people of all ages who are struggling with physical, mental, and/or social problems that make it hard to do their daily tasks.

    You should consider occupational therapy if you’re having difficulty performing activities you used to enjoy—like playing sports, working on a computer, or even just getting dressed in the morning—it’s probably time for a visit.

    Other signs that could indicate a need for occupational therapy include pain while doing daily activities, being unable to complete tasks due to fatigue or lack of energy, and feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks.

    Occupational therapy can help improve your quality of life by making daily activities easier and less frustrating. OT’s can come up with a treatment plan to improve your daily life so that you may participate in meaningful activities. So if you’re feeling stuck in a rut and don’t know how to move forward, consider seeing an occupational therapist today!

    Who can benefit from occupational therapy?

    Occupational therapy can help people of all ages to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can help individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions to develop, recover, or maintain daily living, self-care activities and work skills. OTs also provide support and treatment plans for people who are recovering from injuries or illnesses.

    What are the costs to see an occupational therapist?

    Occupational Therapy can cost different amounts. If you are living with a chronic condition some costs may be covered by Medicare. In this case, you’ll need a referral from your doctor. 

    Private health insurance may provide financial assistance. It’s wise to confirm your coverage with your insurer before scheduling a visit.

    If you’ve accessed the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), you may have funding to support capacity building. It gets a little more complicated if your plan is Agency Managed, Plan Managed or Self Managed. The NDIS sets a rate for Occupational Therapy services within the AM or PM programs.

    If you have private health insurance, your insurer might cover some of the cost of your occupational therapy. It’s a good idea to check with your private health insurer before your appointment.

    A female student with laptop

    What does a person study to become an occupational therapist?

    To become an occupational therapist, you need to study anatomy and physiology, psychology, kinesiology, neuroscience, and other sciences. You also learn about how to evaluate a client’s abilities and develop rehabilitation plans.

    You’ll become familiar with different therapeutic techniques and equipment used in Occupational Therapy, as well as learning how to work with families and caregivers to improve their everyday lives.

    Finally, you’ll need to understand the importance of professional ethics and developing a positive relationship with your clients.

    Wow! That’s quite a lot!

    Interesting facts about occupational therapy? 

    Did you know that occupational therapy has a long history? Arguably, it dates back to Ancient Greece, when Asclepieion of Kos whose medical approach “focused on maintaining health and the importance of understanding the whole consideration of patients’ health”.

    However, it was the trauma of WWI, that saw the emergence of the profession. The fledgling professional played an important role helping soldiers who had lost limbs or suffered from shell shock.

    Today, it’s used to help people of all ages with physical, social, and emotional issues. Interesting, right?


    Occupational Therapy Australia

    OTA is Australia’s peak body for occupational therapists. It encourages evidence-based practice, ongoing learning and drives the future of the profession. OTA works to help occupational therapy professionals serve their communities.

    Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

    Ahpra safeguards the public with National Boards’ assistance. Together, they ensure registered health practitioners meet strict standards of practice.

    Image of Occupational Therapist David Norris

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