Occupational therapy is a type of support given for people who have health problems that stop them doing things they enjoy. Occupational therapists can help people to find their strengths, and identify their difficulties so they can try to overcome them.
They work with people to reach for realistic goals that can be maintained. Occupational therapy can be accessed by anyone, whether your condition was present from birth, whether it has developed with age, or whether it was the result of an accident.
It can be used to help treat many different health conditions, whether they are physical or mental illnesses. Many of these problems can come with age, such as arthritis or chronic pain. Occupational therapy can help provide devices and plan strategies to aid and improve people’s daily lives, and to try and maximise their independence as much as possible.
Strategies and equipment
What strategy and equipment (if any) will be used depends entirely on the circumstances and how severe someone’s condition is.
One of the key aims of occupational therapy is to help you maintain as much independence as possible, and to help with developing new routines, such as new ways of budgeting, domestic or personal care routines, leisure, and work patterns. For example, if you’re finding it difficult to cut meat, perhaps you could buy meat that is pre-sliced, or if you find it difficult to stand while doing the ironing, perhaps you could simply sit down while ironing. Your occupational therapist would work to develop the new routines in stages, always starting small, to help you build your confidence.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to adapt the environment or use special equipment to help you. For example, if you have broken your leg, it is likely you will need to use a walking stick until your mobility improves. If your vision has deteriorated, you could have special software installed on your computer to allow you to continue to work. No matter how small they might seem to you, your occupational therapist will help with any problems.
Occupational therapy can also play a major role in rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a course of treatment designed to help someone recover from an illness or injury. For example, it may be used if someone is battling addiction, or if they have their mobility impaired due to a broken leg, or if someone is recovering from surgery.
“Work” does not have to be a paid role; it also includes full-time parents, carers, or volunteers. Therapists can assist by assessing your place of work and your role there, and helping to find ways to manage your condition while at work and monitoring your progress. Rehabilitation does not have to be focused on work either; occupational therapists can also help you to get back into your leisure activities, and finding ways to adapt them to your condition.
Within North Lincolnshire, occupational therapists are based in three locality teams:
- Scunthorpe North and Isle of Axholme: 030 3330 6802
- (Wards of Town, Burringham & Gunness, Crosby & Park, Axholme Central, Axholme North, and Axholme South)
- Scunthorpe South: 030 3330 6804
(Wards of Kingsway with Lincoln Gardens, Bottesford, Brumby, Frodingham, and Ashby)
- Brigg and Barton: 01724 298 180
(Wards of Brigg & Wolds, Broughton & Appleby, Ridge, Barton, Burton-upon-Stather & Winterton, and Ferry)