With war comes devastation and loss. Occupational therapy became an important medical profession after the 1914-1918 World War. Soldiers came home from the war and experienced significant disruption in their lives, many of them impacted by physical disability and post-traumatic stress. To help them return to their lives and become more independent, soldiers were given vocational training in hospitals. A relatively new approach to medical care was thus popularized.
According to the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy (CAOT), benefits of occupational therapy include:
- Improving physical abilities such as strength, balance, and coordination
- Enhancing mental abilities such as memory, coping strategies, and organization skills
- Assisting social and emotional support at home, school, and work
To do this, an occupational therapist meets with clients on an individual basis, and explores their personalized needs.
Occupational therapy aims to improve your ability to perform everyday activities. These are considered “occupations”: an activity of daily life that “occupies” your time and brings purpose and meaning to life. This includes activities at work, in the home, during leisure time, and socially.
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Occupational therapy can help with independence, enhance health management skills and promote a balanced and satisfying lifestyle.
So, what actually is occupational therapy, commonly known as OT, and how can it help you achieve your goals?
CAOT defines occupational therapy as “a type of health care that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them”. The underlying role of occupational therapy is to help you do the things you want to do. This may involve adapting to the activities you find challenging and determining an alternative way to do them. This is achieved by exploring new methods of doing daily tasks by “adapting activities and physical and social environments to improve function, capacity, and participation”.
Although there are many benefits to occupational therapy for people with concussions and who are experiencing other issues in daily life, it is especially advantageous for those who have experienced an accident or change in life and are recovering. This may be a physical or mental illness, learning difficulties, or part of ageing. Occupational therapists work alongside all those involved in a persons’ life to attain desired outcomes of treatment, including doctors, family and caregivers, teachers and employers.
Despite primarily being discussed and considered the same as physical therapy, occupational therapy offers many additional benefits beyond this. Occupational therapy focuses on developing functional methods to help people with everyday activities. To achieve this, occupational therapy focuses on mental, social, physical, and cognitive aspects of life. Collectively, this leads to a better quality of life.
Improving quality of life
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists have a vision to make occupational therapy valued and accessible across Canada. Today, over 20,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students work to improve the quality of life for millions of Canadians. They accomplish this by helping people perform everyday activities that are essential to their lives. This focus is an important step in the health field to meet the diverse needs of Canadians, enabling a better quality of life.
Occupational therapy assists Canadians through all walks of life. With the help of an occupational therapist, clients may see improvements in physical and mental abilities.
Want to start your wellness journey? An occupational therapist right here in Vancouver will help you develop a custom recovery plan for your situation.