OT Week – Unleashing Possibilities with Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy Week, Unleashing Possibilities with Occupational Therapy, OT Week

From the 23rd to the 29th of October we are celebrating national OT week! 

During this special week, we are taking the chance to highlight the exceptional expertise of our Occupational Therapy professionals here at St Jude’s. It’s an opportunity to showcase the outstanding services and care they deliver to our clients day in and day out. 

Today, we had the privilege of sitting down with Amy Bennett, our Allied Health Manager, to delve into the vast benefits of Occupational Therapy services. Let’s explore what these services entail and the incredible impact they can have on individuals. 

What does Occupational Therapy do?

Occupational Therapy is a holistic approach to supporting individuals in building and maintaining their independence across various aspects of daily living and meaningful occupations. OT includes fostering personal care autonomy, including tasks such as showering, dressing, and grooming as well as domestic responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. We support them in venturing into the community to pursue education, employment, driving, and engaging in activities and hobbies that they enjoy.

What makes Occupational Therapy special is our personal approach. We work closely with individuals and their support networks, developing practical strategies tailored to their unique goals. OT encompasses a broad range of frameworks and models, and is concerned with the physical wellbeing, social engagement and mental health of individuals. We aim to enhance their quality of life, foster self-reliance, and promote a sense of fulfillment for every person we work with.

Who is Occupational Therapy for & who can benefit from Occupational Therapy services?

Occupational Therapy can be utilized by anyone facing challenges, whether it’s due to an injury, a permanent disability, or difficulties with specific activities. OT is accessible across all age groups – from infants and children through to adults and seniors. Ultimately anyone, regardless of age or injury can benefit from specific OT interventions, even navigating tasks such as time management and planning.

How does Occupational Therapy help adults in their daily lives?

At the heart of what we do is empowering our clients to break down barriers and overcome challenges, increasing independence in activities that are meaningful for them. This allows them to live a more fulfilled life and reduce the need for additional support and assistance.

OT’s go beyond just advice and guidance, providing recommendations for daily living aids like dressing sticks and electric jar openers, to more significant items including mobility aids, wheelchairs, adjustable beds, smart technologies, and even vehicle modifications. We can adapt the client’s environment to ensure that they can live comfortably and safely in their own homes.

Can you tell us about your history of working as an Occupational Therapist?

I started off my career working on vocational rehabilitation, supporting injured workers to get back to work. From there, I transitioned to an aged care facility doing OT assessments of the residents, which primarily involved prescribing wheelchairs and mobility aids.

My time at St Jude’s began working with adults in the community before supporting the expansion of our St Jude’s Allied Health team. I then moved into a senior OT role, where I enjoyed working closely with our clients in Perth and making regular trips to Esperance to address the unique challenges faced by those in remote areas with limited access to therapy services. After being with St Jude’s for five years, I am now manager of Allied Health services. I love our close-knit therapy team and feel that everyone within the team has something to offer.

I really enjoy the diversity of the people we work with at St Jude’s, and the opportunities to specialize, learn, and grow professionally which I have had since working here. I’m especially thankful for the opportunity to extend our services to rural and remote communities, bridging the gap for those who would otherwise lack access to vital support.

What are the benefits of Occupational Therapy for ADHD?

Occupational Therapists can help with modifying the client’s environment to assist with their attention and focus so that they can better engage in activities. We can make recommendations for appropriate assistive technologies including ear plugs to aid their focus.

How can Occupational Therapy help with Autism?

OT can assist with identifying and making recommendations to meet the sensory needs of the client, to improve their engagement in daily living activities. Through sensory assessments, we can make recommendations for sensory items to help with regulation and developing skills.

Along with other therapy services like Positive Behavior Support and Psychology, Occupational therapy helps to work towards enhancing the participant’s goals including emotional regulation, building coping strategies and reducing behaviors of concern.

What are the key advantages of Occupational Therapy for elderly people?

We can help to support seniors by recommending specialized equipment to counter the challenges related to declining independence and function. Additionally, we implement cognitive interventions designed to preserve vital skills like memory, enhancing their overall quality of life.

OTs can provide education and guidance to help individuals navigate significant life transitions such as retirement, changes in work, and the potential loss of independence.

Equipment and strategies can be recommended to allow seniors to continue to live in the community with some level of independence, which could include home modifications such as ramps and rails. If ageing in place is no longer possible, then occupational therapy in residential aged care can assist older clients who have transitioned to a residential facility.

Our role extends to training family supports and carers to provide person-centered, dignified care. We can provide hands-on training and develop tailored care plans covering everything from manual handling to transfers and mobility.

What advice would you have for a student considering a career as an Occupational Therapist?

I would say that one of the best things about becoming an OT is that it offers you a broad range of areas that you can choose to specialize in. If you are already studying at uni, it is helpful to get some experience in the disability sector before working as an OT. You could do this through a student placement, or by becoming a therapy assistant as a pathway into the industry before you graduate with your degree.

Where can Occupational Therapy services be accessed?

Our OT services can take place at one of our office locations in Kewdale, Rockingham, Joondalup and Bunbury, as well as in the community, school, and in-home for greater comfortability and familiarity. Through telehealth, our experienced occupational therapists are available nationwide.

If you or your loved one require Occupational Therapy in an area not listed here, contact us to explore your service possibilities.

If you or somebody you know would like more information about our Occupational Therapy services, get in touch with us here at St Jude’s.

With over 40 years experience in providing services to individuals with disabilities, we’re dedicated to helping you to maximise your quality of life. To see if you are eligible for our exceptional NDIS occupational therapy services, contact our friendly team.