October is occupational therapy month in Canada

This month recognizes the vital work done every day by occupational therapists (OTs), occupational therapy assistants, physiotherapy and rehab assistants. 

OTs make meaningful differences in the lives of patients by helping them live life to the fullest.

Join us in celebrating all of the OT practitioners and assistants at University Health Network (UHN) by learning more about their work.

Who are occupational therapists?

Occupational therapists empower patients to perform everyday activities to help them lead more independent and healthy lives. With a solid understanding of a patient’s cognitive and/or physical functional status, an OT can assess and work with patients who encounter challenges in performing daily activities that many of us may take for granted such as brushing their teeth, getting dressed or driving.

Why is occupational therapy work important to patients?

Occupational therapy is an important part of a person’s journey through the recovery process. OT enables people who have experienced any type of injury – physical, developmental and/or emotional to engage in their regular activities and actively participate in their tasks of daily living.  

An occupational therapist can work with people to establish an individualized treatment plan to achieve their self-care, productivity and leisure goals that are meaningful to the person.

What are the benefits of occupational therapy?

Patients from all age groups and abilities can benefit from OT intervention. OTs can help develop and practice adaptive techniques that will equip patients with the skills to perform activities of daily living as independently as possible, with the goal of improving their overall quality of life.

When would you need occupational therapy?

OT is helpful for anyone who has experienced an accident or health-related condition that would prevent them from participating in daily activities independently. OT is commonly used for patients with arthritis, stroke, a traumatic brain or a spinal cord injury and also for patients with any other physical or cognitive disabilities. Although OTs often collaborate with an interprofessional team, OT is essential to regaining a patient’s sense of independence.

Where can you access occupational therapy at UHN?

At UHN, occupational therapy is provided across many areas including Toronto Rehab, Sprott Department of Surgery and Altum Health. All services have a shared goal of helping patients overcome the challenges of a potentially disabling injury, illness or age-related health conditions to continue to live an active, healthier and independent lives.

During National OT Month, there are two special dates to keep note of: October 12th, Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Appreciation Day and October 26th, World Occupational Therapy Day.

Thanks to Tess Devji and Colleen Anderson, in-patient occupational therapists at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre for their help with this article. Learn more about Tess and her work at UHN here.

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