“Imagine having to relearn a skill such as telling the time or tying your shoelaces. We have the skills to help someone to perform all of the day to day tasks that we take for granted.”

This week we are celebrating the work that our Occupational Therapists do within the Trust for #OTweek2020.

Occupational Therapists can work in a wide range of health and social care settings with people of all ages with a wide range of conditions. The role of the Occupational Therapist is to work with people to empower them to overcome barriers that are preventing them from doing the activities or “occupations” that are important to them.

“Occupations” are the everyday activities that we do to look after ourselves and our families and that give a sense of purpose to our lives. This could be anything from brushing your teeth to playing golf or going to work. Occupational Therapists believe that people have an innate need to engage in activity and this is often disrupted by illness/ disability or factors in the environment.

Occupational Therapists use a range of interventions including adapting the activity, altering the environment, teaching a person new skills or re-establishing lost skills.

Within the Disabilities Trust the majority of our occupational therapists work in our brain injury services. People with acquired brain injury experience a wide variety of impairments which impact on their ability to engage in meaningful occupation and they may also have many social and environmental barriers to overcome. These include motor and sensory issues, cognitive and communication difficulties and difficulties managing their emotions and behavior. Our occupational therapists work with people with acquired brain injury with the aim of increasing independence and social participation, reducing social isolation and to support them to construct a sense of identity and psychological wellbeing.

Examples an OT role:

· An OT may practice dressing using strategies like a set routine, using markers to locate the back or front of garments or advising on clothing that may be easier to put on.

· An OT may work with a person to practice cooking their partner’s favourite meal using a checklist, a timer and one-handed equipment.

· An OT may run a group to complete a project with service users to arrange a fundraising event for the unit to work on social communication, planning and problem-solving skills.