Occupational therapy jobs and the roles within them can vary massively. What links them together though is that their main goal is to provide the support necessary for a person to perform the tasks and activities that matter to them, which are being hindered by their health or mental/physical ability. In this article I will give a brief overview of some of the techniques used in occupational therapy and who can benefit from these.
The first thing an occupational therapist has to be able to do is to identify what the strength and weaknesses are of someone who needs help in this area. This will then allow a two pronged approach to be started. Firstly, how to minimise the weaknesses and secondly, to work out approaches to build upon the strengths of an individual. Such as focusing on a career change, if, for example, they have suffered an accident that doesn’t allow them to perform their previous job role sufficiently anymore, but still have a strong skill set left, that is appropriate for other fields.
Occupational therapists will also break down the activity that a patient is struggling with into manageable stages. This allows each stage to be focused in turn, and make certain tasks not seem so daunting. Or, the therapist may try a completely different approach to a task, one that accommodates for the disability a patient has incurred.
Employing technology to help a patient is a common technique used by occupational therapists. For example, someone who has had a hip replacement might find it difficult or near impossible to get in and out of the bath like they were used to. So, the therapists would get grab rails to be fitted in their bathroom, so that this becomes a possible task for a patient to perform again.
Occupational therapists may also come to a patient’s workplace as well as home. They will then assess how their role is performed there, how it is now hindered, and how it can be improved upon by some the techniques mentioned above.
The common trend throughout all these techniques is that it is not a case of ‘one size fits all.’ By this, I mean that the main goal for an occupational therapist is to work out how they can find solutions for patients on an individual basis. And this can only happen through getting to know them, understanding the extent of their injury/illness, observing the results of different techniques, and improving on these techniques where necessary.