In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the demand for skilled professionals who can provide holistic care is on the rise. Among these valuable experts are occupational therapists (OTs), who play a vital role in improving the lives of individuals with physical, mental, and developmental challenges. Given the name ‘occupational’ therapy, most people assume that it is a therapy specifically focused on the workplace, however, occupational therapy stretches far beyond the boundaries of employment. Occupational Therapists are allied health professionals who play a vital role in helping people overcome injuries or physical limitations to ensure that they can participate in their daily routines, or the tasks that ‘occupy’ them. Occupational therapists provide a range of services including assessing, diagnosing, and treating physical or psychological conditions that limit an individual’s ability to engage in meaningful activities. OTs are holistic practitioners and problem solvers who work with people of any age to help them maintain, regain, or improve their independence.
Helping people recover
Occupational therapists play an essential role in helping individuals recover from injury or illness. They assist in determining the best exercises, movements, and activities that can aid in restoring strength and improving flexibility. Occupational therapists work together with doctors and other allied healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for every client. The therapy is vital as it helps clients feel comfortable and confident enough to continue to carry out their activities of daily life after trauma.
Enhancing mental health
Occupational therapists can work with clients with both physical and mental health concerns. An occupational therapist may work with a client to develop coping strategies for people overcoming their mental health issues or improving confidence and self-esteem in social situations. Occupational therapists in mental health use individual and group programs and activities to enhance independence in everyday activities and can include working with individuals to develop skills to live more independently, become an active part of their community, learn to handle stress and different emotions, develop coping skills, develop communication skills, and structure their daily life. Occupational therapy interventions focus on improving the patient’s ability to participate in meaningful activities and is essential in giving individuals a sense of purpose and daily routine, which can improve their overall well-being and mental outlook.
Improving quality of life
Occupational therapists work with individuals to ensure they live fulfilling, satisfying lives. OTs provide clients with the skills and equipment necessary for carrying out their daily activities and hobbies, and interests that bring them joy. Occupational therapy ensures that these individuals with disabilities, injury, or illness are as independent as possible, thus improving their overall quality of life. Occupational therapy is an essential part of ensuring the individual can keep up with their daily routines and maintain human connections and allows them to play an active role in society.
Occupational therapy caters to people of all ages, including children, adults, and the elderly. Occupational therapists can provide early intervention for children diagnosed with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, physical disabilities such as spina bifida, sensory and attention issues, developmental and learning delay, and other medical and surgical conditions. Occupational therapy with children and young people is focused on learning and play, and includes daily activities like getting dressed, going to school, making friends, and taking part in clubs and groups.
Overall, occupational therapists work with young people to ensure that they experience a smooth transition to adulthood, facilitating excellent health outcomes. They work with adults to promote their physical health, mental health, and quality of life, and they work with seniors to improve their overall wellbeing while ensuring that they are safe in performing activities of daily living.
Collaborative and interdisciplinary approach
At Vivir Healthcare, our occupational therapists work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. This interdisciplinary approach ensures comprehensive and coordinated care for clients. Our OTs collaborate with physiotherapists, speech therapists, psychologists, and other allied health professionals to create tailored treatment plans that address the unique needs of the individual. This collaborative environment fosters professional growth and allows OTs to learn from and contribute to a diverse range of healthcare perspectives.
Further your career with Vivir Healthcare
Vivir Healthcare is a leading allied health provider that offers quality services in residential aged care, homecare, and across the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) sector. As part of Vivir Healthcare, occupational therapists can work with a diverse range of clients, each with their unique needs and goals. We value the expertise and knowledge that occupational therapists bring to the team and recognises the importance of this specialised skills, ensuring a supportive environment for OTs to further develop their skills and knowledge.
Whether it's supporting the elderly in residential care facilities, assisting individuals with disabilities in their homes, or providing services under the NDIS, occupational therapists at Vivir Healthcare have the chance to make a significant impact on people's lives.
Occupational therapy and occupational therapists are a largely unknown field in allied health that most people don’t hear about until they need it for themselves or a loved one. But as we’ve discussed, occupational therapists play a vital role not only in the physical health but also in the mental health of their clients. Occupational therapy interventions aim to build the confidence of individuals by helping them to identify their strengths and abilities, enabling them to better achieve their goals. It also helps patients develop practical strategies for managing difficult emotions and situations that may arise in daily life. With so many different areas of work, and so any individuals in need of holistic assistance, considering the career path of an occupational therapist is not only rewarding, but a valuable contribution to society.
If you are interested in ways to study Occupational Therapy, head to the Uni Guide for a comprehensive look at courses and universities in Australia. If you’re an OT looking to work with a company who is committed to making lives better, get in touch with the Vivir team.