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Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Occupational therapy takes a 'whole-person approach' to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential.

Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that they need to do and that matter to them. This support increases people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.

'Occupation' as a term refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure.

An occupational therapist will consider all of the patient’s needs - physical, psychological, social and environmental. This support can make a real difference giving people a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way they feel about the future.

At the first appointment the occupational therapist will ask you some questions about how you are managing your daily activities and the impact of your condition.

They will work with you to understand what you want to achieve from the occupational therapy intervention and set goals. Examples of goals could be returning to work, managing fatigue or carrying out specific daily tasks. It’s helpful to think of your own goals before you see the occupational therapist.

Occupational Therapists will assess and provide tailored interventions in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Environmental adaptions
  • Small aids and gadgets
  • Splinting
  • Joint protection
  • Employment
  • Careering for others
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Pain management
  • Relaxation
  • Fatigue management
  • Pacing
  • Management of ‘brain fog’
  • Understanding your condition
  • Develop self-management skills including managing flairs

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists often work closely together to provide care for people with rheumatology conditions. You may see them both at the same appointment. We try to make sure you see the same occupational therapist at every appointment.

You may see the occupational therapist when you are first diagnosed, if problems occur throughout the course, or if you simply want advice on how to do certain activities.

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