Occupational therapists play a vital role in supporting those with a disability and older people; they help people to maintain and improve their independence and physical safety in some of life’s daily activities.
We sat down with one of HenderCare’s occupational therapists, Emlyn, to discuss in more detail what occupational therapy involves.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what is your role at HenderCare?
I’m an OT who has been working in the disability sector for the past 4 years. As an occupational therapist my interest is in maximising a person’s independence in the occupations or activites that are important to them.
How long have you worked as a an occupational therapist?
I’ve been working as an OT for 11 years, but I’m still learning things everyday!
What sort of things do you do in a typical day?
My typical day involves me travelling and visiting people in their homes, making assessments to understand their goals and challenges, and working together on solutions to overcome those challenges. The solutions I often look at include assistive technology or aids, modifications to the home, strategies for doing things differently or the supports the person requires from a paid support worker.
Usually there is a fair bit of paperwork that follows my visits- things like writing reports to the NDIS or research on assistive technology. My day might also involve teaching someone how to use a powered wheelchair or mobility scooter and getting out into the community.
What kinds of clients do you work with?
I work with adults with disabilities or health conditions that impact on their participation in daily activities. Lots of people I work with have challenges with their mobility and may use wheelchairs or walkers to get around.
Why is it important for people with a disability/older people to regularly see an occupational therapist? What are the benefits to their health?
OT’s focus on the activities that are important in your life and trying to maximise your independence. Occupational Therapy is founded on the idea that doing occupations or activities is beneficial to our health, but also how we feel about ourselves – if we can help you to be more independent and able with your mobility or daily living tasks you’ll feel better for it. A good OT can bring a unique approach to how you could do things differently, and support you to meet with suppliers to get the right piece of equipment.
Why do you enjoy your job?
My job is enjoyable because it is so diverse, no two people are the same which means I am always having to consider different ways to achieve their goals. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet with people in their homes as I get real insights into how they live their life. But most importantly seeing people achieve their goals, or find or regain independence is incredibly rewarding.