What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that focuses on enabling individuals to participate in the meaningful activities and occupations that make up their daily lives, such as self-care, work, leisure, and social participation. 

Occupational therapy is an important service for adults who are experiencing physical, cognitive, emotional, or psychosocial challenges that impact their ability to engage in everyday activities. The aim of occupational therapy is to help individuals achieve their goals, optimise their functional abilities, and enhance their overall well-being and quality of life.

History of occupational therapy

The history of occupational therapy dates back to the early 20th century, when it was first developed as a form of treatment for patients with mental health conditions. Over time, it evolved to encompass a wide range of practice areas, including:

  • physical rehabilitation
  • vocational rehabilitation
  • community-based services

What can occupational therapy help adults with?

In the context of adult health and well-being, occupational therapy is an important service that can help individuals to:

  • Overcome barriers to participation in everyday activities
  • Develop and maintain skills and abilities for independent living
  • Improve physical, cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial functioning
  • Increase social and community participation
  • Enhance the overall quality of life

Occupational therapy for adults is a valuable healthcare service that can make a significant difference in the lives of individuals who are experiencing challenges that impact their ability to engage in daily activities.

What do occupational therapists do?

As mentioned, healthcare professionals like occupational therapists play a crucial role in helping adults achieve their goals and maintain their independence. Through their expertise in assessing and addressing physical, cognitive, and psychosocial factors, occupational therapists can help individuals overcome barriers to participating in daily activities and achieve their desired outcomes.

When working with adults, occupational therapists will often collaborate with other healthcare professionals and caregivers to provide comprehensive support. They work closely with physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and other specialists to ensure a coordinated approach to care. 

These approaches will include a range of interventions and techniques to support adults in achieving their goals, including:

  • Developing personalised treatment plans that focus on the individual’s strengths, needs, and goals
  • Providing education and training on adaptive techniques, assistive technology, and modifications to support participation in daily activities
  • Conducting assessments to identify barriers to participation and developing strategies to overcome them
  • Providing support and guidance in self-care activities, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
  • Recommending home modifications to improve safety and accessibility
  • Supporting individuals in finding or maintaining employment, education, and community participation.

By working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and caregivers, occupational therapists can help individuals overcome challenges and achieve their desired outcomes. With their focus on promoting independence and improving quality of life, occupational therapists play a vital role in supporting adults to live their lives to the fullest.

Goals of occupational therapy for adults

The goals of occupational therapy for adults are multifaceted and personalised to the individual’s specific needs and priorities.

The primary goal of occupational therapy for adults is to facilitate independence and participation in daily activities, including self-care, leisure, work, and community participation. Occupational therapists work with clients to identify their goals, strengths, and limitations to develop personalised treatment plans that address their unique needs.

Improving physical abilities

Occupational therapy can help improve physical abilities, such as mobility, strength, endurance, and coordination, which are necessary for daily activities.

Enhancing cognitive function 

Occupational therapy can help improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

Promoting emotional well-being 

Occupational therapy can help individuals manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional or mental health challenges that can impact daily activities.

Facilitating independence in self-care

Occupational therapy can help individuals improve their ability to perform daily self-care activities, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.

Improving community participation

Occupational therapy can help individuals engage in community activities, such as volunteering, socialising, and participating in hobbies or leisure activities.

Supporting return to work 

Occupational therapy can help individuals return to work after an injury or illness by improving their physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities and developing strategies to accommodate their limitations.

Techniques used in occupational therapy for adults

Occupational therapy can help improve daily activities for adults by addressing the underlying physical, cognitive, or emotional limitations that may be preventing them from engaging in meaningful activities. 

By working with clients to address their unique needs and goals, occupational therapy can help improve daily activities for adults and support their overall health and well-being.

Therapeutic exercises

Occupational therapists may use therapeutic exercises to improve physical abilities, such as strength, endurance, and mobility.

Assistive technology

Occupational therapists may recommend or provide assistive technology, such as adaptive equipment or technology, to help individuals with physical or cognitive limitations perform daily activities.

Environmental modifications 

Occupational therapists may recommend environmental modifications, such as home modifications or workplace accommodations, to improve safety and accessibility for individuals with physical limitations.

Cognitive interventions

Occupational therapists may use cognitive interventions, such as memory training or problem-solving strategies, to help individuals with cognitive limitations.

Emotional support 

Occupational therapists may provide emotional support and coping strategies to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, or depression that may be impacting their daily activities.

For adults considering occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is a vital service for adults who are facing challenges in their daily lives. It can help Australians to achieve their goals and improve their daily functioning, leading to an overall improvement in their quality of life.

At Connect2Care, we are committed to providing excellent and innovative occupational therapy services to help people achieve their goals. Our NDIS-approved Occupational therapists work alongside both clients and their referrers to provide support with self-care, home modifications, work or education, and participation in social and leisure activities.

We encourage anyone who needs support in these areas to connect with our friendly and welcoming team to learn more about our NDIS occupational therapy services. Please connect with us today to find out how we can help facilitate independence in all areas of your life.