Many people struggle to identify the differences between Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy (OT) as the two professions promote essential hands on rehabilitation to help clients. Physiotherapists improve the ability to perform movement of the human body and treat the actual impairment. Occupational Therapists focus on improving the client’s ability to perform activities of daily living.
OT started as a belief in the remedial properties of Human Occupation, and today, the World Federation describes it as ‘’client centred health professionals concerned with promoting health and wellbeing through occupation. The primary goal of OT is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational Therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want, need to or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement (WFOT 2012)”
In 1917 the profession was developed as a result of soldiers coming back to the hospitals with both mental and physical injuries. Reconstructional activities were developed in order to increase the morale, physical activity and self-esteem of the soldiers during the time spent in military hospitals or sanitariums in the USA, France, Australia and Britain.
Today you will find Occupational Therapists in schools assisting with fine motor activities, retirement homes working with dementia specific programs, prisons to assist with return to life skills, acute hospitals, rehabilitation centres, adult day centres, early intervention with children and all areas of mental health, thereby making it a profession that covers multiple areas of personal recovery and wellbeing.
The OT process is based on initial assessment and repeated assessments. The Occupational Therapist in collaboration with the client works on individual and environmental abilities to improve the quality of the person’s daily life. This includes working with the client to identify their needs in the modification of the environment (home or work), the validation of new equipment, review of existing equipment and evaluating the whole person.
OT will continue to evolve to meet the communities future needs whilst capitalising on new technology to help improve individual’s recovery and quality of life.
For more information about Interchange Australia’s OT services, please call 1300 112 334.