Celebrate Occupational Therapists this week
Saturday 27 October is World Occupational Therapy Day.
The day we celebrate and promote the profession internationally.
The theme for Occupational Therapy Week this year is ‘Occupational Therapy: the doing profession’.
So what do Occupational Therapists do?
As the name suggests occupational therapists use ‘occupation’ to improve, maintain and restore health and wellbeing.
Occupation can be defined as, ‘everything that people do to occupy themselves, including looking after themselves, enjoying life, and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities.’
Richard Savill, Nikau House Co-ordinator and Professional Advisor Occupational Therapy (Mental Health) says the evidence shows that participation in meaningful occupation supports consumer recovery and enhances resilience.
Here are some examples of what our Occupational Therapists have achieved with their clients:
• Supported a former gang member develop literacy skills, and obtain a forklift licence to assist him to find work.
• Taught healthy meal options to support weight loss, and supported the same client group to take up a gentle exercise program.
• Supported a socially isolated depressed client to join a local sports group.
• Supported clients to develop household management skills e.g. cooking, budgeting, and cleaning to maintain living independently in their own accommodation.
• Supported a client with agoraphobia to re engage with her local Church group.
• Supporting a teenage boy with dyspraxia to learn how to use a knife and fork, tie his shoelaces and play on the playground.
• Supply a wheelchair ramp to the entrance of a person’s home so they could independently enter and exit their home.
• Provide strategies for a person who had a head injury on how to conserve energy and prioritise tasks so they have prioritise playing with their kids.
• Supported a person to return home to regain their independence, from living in rest home level of care.
• Facilitated obtaining funding for an internal lift, to enable a man with a fast progressing neurological condition, to remain living in his own home long term, enjoying his sea views.
• Provided a power wheelchair for a gentleman with a dense hemiplegia, who was unable to leave his room previously, but can now actively engage and socialise in activities around the rest home and community.
Did you know…
There are over 2,470 practicing occupational therapists, or kaiwhakaora ngangahau, in New Zealand?
Occupational therapists can work for a range of organisations, including:
• District health boards (public health services and hospitals, including emergency departments)
• Private occupational therapy or multi-disciplinary practices
• Primary health-care providers
• Rest homes or private hospitals
• Rehabilitation services
• Primary and secondary schools
• ACC (as case managers)
• Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
• The Ministry of Education
• Mental health and addiction services
• Self-employed and in many more areas!