Occupational therapists work with people who have a physical impairment, a medical condition, a mental health problem or a learning disability. They help people who have difficulty with practical everyday tasks.
The role of an occupational therapist
An occupational therapist (OT) works with people with a range of medical conditions in areas such as:
- adult physical disability
- children’s services - paediatrics
- learning disability
- acute hospital services
- mental Health
You will need to ask your local Health and Social Care Trust about access to the proper OT service for your needs.
Your GP or any other health professional involved in your care, such as a social worker may be able to help you with this.
How occupational therapists can help
The aim of occupational therapy is to allow you to live as safely and independently as possible - at home, in employment or in education. Occupational therapists work in health and social care and work closely with health, housing and educational services in supporting you.
An occupational therapist can help you adapt to changes in your everyday life and to overcome practical problems. They do this by:
- giving advice
- looking at ways an everyday task can be done differently
- recommending alterations or changes to your home
- referring you on to other services that can help - for example, speech and language therapy
- helping you to address work-related issues
Occupational therapists have specialist knowledge and can advise you on disability equipment, housing adaptations and in some circumstances adaptations to the workplace.
More information on what occupational therapists can do for you is available on:
Health and social services' departments have guidelines to decide the level of services people receive and how quickly they get them. If you need vital equipment, adaptations or personal support, arrangements will be made for you to work with an occupational therapist as soon as possible.
If your disability has a moderate or minor effect on your day-to-day life, you may have to wait several weeks for assessment.