Occupational Therapy: What is it?
Occupational Therapy is a regulated health care provider that works together with an individual when issues interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important. This includes every day activities, ranging anywhere from getting dressed in the morning, going to work or school, and participating in leisure activities. Occupational Therapists assist their clients with occupying their time in an effective, productive and meaningful manner. While it is a health care that is often delivered in schools and skill building programs, one of the most common places for occupational therapy to occur is the workplace. Watch our video by Melanie Weller to learn more about the importance of Occupational Therapy!
How Can an Occupational Therapist Assist You?
Occupational Therapists can assist in multiple different areas of concern in the workplace. An Occupational Therapist can provide education and make suggestions to improve the work environment, including injury and risk prevention strategies. Assessments of the employee and their capabilities can also be provided, as well as reactivation programs and return to work programs to transition an employee back to work following a leave of absence. Other services include accommodations, stay at work solutions, education sessions and much more. All of which ultimately lead to healthier and more productive workers and positive work environments.
How to Know when you Need Occupational Therapy
There are various reasons why an employee may require occupational therapy intervention. Some of the signs or reasons an individual may need an Occupational Therapist’s intervention include:
- If an employee is complaining about discomfort or pain occurring in the workplace, an Occupational Therapist can provide an ergonomic assessment.
- If an employee is struggling to complete the demands of the job, an Occupational Therapist can provide an assessment of the employee, the work and the work tools. The OT will provide strategies to support the employee in improving performance through offering work adjustments, strategies or tools.
- If an employee is away from work due to illness or injury, an Occupational Therapist can assess the best way for an employee to return-to-work.
- If a work team is struggling to communicate well, an Occupational Therapist can provide the employees with training and communication skills to improve team performance.
- If an employee is starting work but requires some accommodations in the workplace, an Occupational Therapist can provide a comprehensive assessment so that practical adjustments can be made to allow the employee to complete the work with accommodations.
- If the workplace or workstations are being redesigned, an Occupational Therapist can reduce barriers to allow all employees to be included in the workplace. An OT will use universal design of workplaces and ergonomic improvements to improve accessibility and comfort.
- If managers are struggling with supporting employees in distress, an Occupational Therapist can provide managers with training to encourage communication and tools that work for all employees.
- If the workplace requires support for Psychological Health and Safety, an Occupational Therapist can assess the risks in the organization. The OT can help to develop programs and processes to remind employees of available resources, improve management of workload, increase civility, and psychological support services. The OT will assist managers in understanding how to communicate support and reduce the stigma around physical and mental well being.
- If organizational changes are occurring that impact employees, an Occupational Therapist can assist with the process of change to support employee productivity and tools to improve the success of long term changes in the organization.
Gowan Consulting specializes in the area of occupational therapy. We have Occupational Therapists all over Canada that can assist with making your workplace healthier! We can assist with anything from ergonomic assessments to reactivation and return to work. We’d love to hear from you! Contact us now to find out how we can help you in the workplace!
Images retrieved from google.ca/images/occupationaltherapymonth