Occupational therapy or ‘O.T.’ enables people with injuries, disabilities or limiting health conditions to overcome barriers to a rich, satisfying, able life. It takes into account a client’s strengths and limitations and creatively seeks practical, realistic solutions that enable them to regain independence and function at their desired level while helping to cultivate confidence in their own capacity. For someone with very limited mobility or movement, target areas may include home modifications or equipment that enable showering, as well as education and support to instil confidence and proficiency.
In the case of limited mental capacity, O.T. may facilitate processes that enable payment of bills or food preparation. For clients of all ages, from child NDIS participants to aged care clients, a Soaring Health occupational therapist can also help to facilitate social and leisure activities to support participation in a rich, balanced life with maximum independence.
When to see to an Occupational Therapist:
- Requires assistance with daily living tasks
- Fine motor skill training (handwriting, grasp, tying shoelaces)
- Using techniques to enhance sensory, perceptual and cognitive processing
- Difficulties with multi-step activities (shopping, household duties, budgeting, caring for someone)
- Requiring education regarding fatigue and needs a fatigue management plans
- Difficulties with participating in leisure and play activities
- Difficulty with social and community participation
- Difficulty with finding work, or participation in work related duties
- Assistive Technology assessments, trials and prescription (items that will assist activities of daily living, eg: shower chair, over-toilet seat, mattress, wheelchairs).
- Home modification requirements (assessments, requests, builder audits)
- Common conditions: sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, spinal cord and brain injuries, wheelchair or bed bound.
Children’s Occupational TherapySuitable for correcting or managing developmental dysfunction such as impaired gait, fine motor control issues and deficits and growth delays or asymmetries affecting function, children’s physiotherapy can also treat acquired musculoskeletal injuries and joint and muscle issues associated with health conditions.
Aquatic Occupational Therapy
A sub-discipline of children’s occupational therapy, aquatic occupational therapy simultaneously promotes motor development, sensory processing and social, play and communication skills.
Often used in conjunction with other occupational therapy methods, it harnesses the unique environment of the pool to provide an enjoyable, safe learning experience for children of all ages, from toddlers to adolescents. Tailored to each participant’s specific challenges, aquatic occupational therapy may be used to help children with physical disabilities or developmental delays with planning, balance, postural control, muscle strength and coordination. For children with restricted or limited play, it provides a natural opportunity to develop diverse play skills while improving communication skills.
Children with diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder or conditions that impair social interaction can benefit greatly from the interactive nature of aquatic occupational therapy, which instills competence and confidence in appropriate interpersonal communication. The calming nature of water has also proven effective for helping children with behavioural challenges to self-regulate emotions and behaviour. The soothing, tactile properties of water may also assist children with touch aversion to tolerate and process the sensory aspects of touch – which is itself healing – in a non-threatening context.
Complex home modifications
Home modification is the implementation of design and
construction modifications to reduce the impact of disability,
optimise independent function and create a safe
environment. Home modifications are classified according to
the NDIS assistive technology complexity level table. A
suitably qualified occupational therapist will need to certify
the eectiveness of proposed modifications to meet your
Occupational Therapy – Home consultation
To best assess clients’ personal needs and facilitate the implementation of appropriate modifications,an occupational therapist often conducts initial assessments and follow-up consultations in clients’ homes. In consultation with a client and members of their care team, they then formulate their recommendations into a comprehensive home modification report. This specifies changes that enable independent execution of specific daily living tasks and may include the prescription of assistive technology and aids. Subsequent at-home consultations may involve education and practice in the safe use of aids such as hoists or modified showers and guided outings.
Occupational Therapy – Therapeutic items and assistive technology
Therapeutic items can greatly enhance independence by enabling execution of daily living tasks otherwise limited by injury or disability. Soaring Health’s occupational therapists can work with members of your broader healthcare team, such as support coordinators or physiotherapists, to assess and fit aids and supports that promote recovery and independent functioning. An NDIS-registered Soaring Health occupational therapist can also help with funding applications, assist with facilitating installation requirements, and help with training in safe, confident use of new devices.
If your injury or disability make it dicult to attend appointments, why not let your treatment team of allied health professionals come to you? As well as eliminating the stress and hassle of transportation, home visits by Soaring Health’s physiotherapists, chiropractors, dietitians and occupational therapists have the fringe benefit of integrating exercises into your daily environment using available space and resources – increasing the likelihood that you’ll follow your program and realise your rehabilitation goals.
Occupational Therapy – Disabilities
While it is part of common vernacular, the term ‘disability’ is a misnomer according to the ethos of occupational therapy. The discipline seeks to challenge physical and mental limitations by identifying solutions that enable greater functional capacity and independence – in turn enhancing confidence and life satisfaction.
For clients with physical or mental ‘disabilities’ that make tasks of daily living dicult or impossible without assistance, an occupational therapist can introduce new possibilities for independence. In partnership with you, they will consider your specific strengths and weaknesses and reconcile these limitations and advantages with their knowledge of possible home and vehicle modifications and aids and related funding provisions. They will also assist with training in the use of modified equipment, suggest useful resources and support options and help you to establish a new routine with your newfound capabilities. Part of Soaring Health’s community division, our occupational therapists are NDIS-registered, meaning no out-of-pocket expenses for NDIS participants.
Occupational Therapy – Seniors
Age-related declines in physical and cognitive function can rob you of your treasured independence and cause increased needs for care and assistance with daily living. In many cases, however, occupational therapy can restore people’s capacity to function at or near the level they previously did by adapting the environment to individuals’ limitations. It can prolong the capacity to safely live and function independently and delay the need for supported accommodation or daily care. In partnership with you, an occupational therapist will consider your personal strengths and weaknesses and reconcile these limitations and advantages with their knowledge of possible home and vehicle modifications and aids and related funding and subsidy provisions.
They will also assist with training in the use of modified equipment, suggest useful resources and support options and help you to establish a new routine with your newfound capabilities. For eligible participants, Soaring Health occupational therapy may be accessed through the My Aged Care program.
Occupational Therapy – If you’ve been injured in an accident
If you’ve been seriously injured, you’ll appreciate the frustration of being unable to do the things you did so easily before your accident. Unfortunately, diminished or lost independence and needing to rely on others for basic care needs can erode confidence and compound the mental and emotional effects of physical trauma. Soaring Health’s occupational therapists can help to restore independent functioning at, or near, previous levels by devising adaptations to your home and, possibly, work environment. Depending on your injury and specific challenges, an occupational therapist may recommend home modifications such as rails or mobility devices such as specialised wheelchairs.
During a home assessment and home visits, an occupational therapist will also help you to become proficient in the safe use of any aids and assist you to establish a new routine and realise the freedom afforded by implemented changes. Whether you only need minor assistance or are undergoing intensive rehabilitation and require major modifications, a Soaring Health occupational therapist is your independence partner. TAC claimants may access our occupational therapy service with no out-of-pocket fees.
Who can benefit from occupational therapy?
- Adults and children with disabilities and/or injuries that impair performance of tasks associated with independent daily living
- Adults and children with chronic health conditions that limit performance of tasks associated with independent daily living
- Adults with disabilities living in supported accommodation or with parents and wishing to cohabitate with housemate or partner
- Adults and children recovering from an accident or injury
Services provided by Soaring Health occupational therapists
- Home-based assessment and report on therapeutic and assistive technology and devices to enable independent function across identified domains (e.g. showering, communicating, leisure activities)
- Workplace assessments
- Assistance with funding application forms for therapeutic and assistive technology and devices
- Taking care of therapeutic and assistive technology installation requirements and ensuring devices and properly fitted and appropriate
- Training participants in proper, safe, effective use of new therapeutic and assistive devices
- Helping to facilitate engagement in realistic occupational or leisure activities
- Driving (car use) assessments
Issues that may be treated with occupational therapy
- Moderate to severe physical or mental disability that limits independent functioning
- Enabling cohabitation with housemates or partner (versus supported accommodation or living with parents)
- Severe injury and/or illness from accident.
Occupational Therapy Clinical Consultations
We have designed our clinics to ensure that the Soaring Health experience is seamless, welcoming and therapeutic for clients with varying needs and abilities. Facilities such as ramps, wide corridors, hand rails, large change rooms and selected furniture enable seamless access to our state-of-the-art therapy rooms, which are equipped with all the resources required to provide you with a goal-driven, therapeutic consultation.
In Home Occupational Therapy
Soaring Health’s in-home services enable you to access the treatment and care you require in the comfort of your own home. In-home services also enable our Occupational Therapists to see your home environment and provide you with practical advice, recommendations and personalised do-it-yourself therapy to optimise your level of functioning. To find out whether home services are available in your area, please call our friendly team on (03) 9013-5987.
Community Occupational Therapy
Your Soaring Health practitioners are experienced in providing community consultations at community centres, respite centres, schools, aged care facilities and kindergartens. Soaring Health practitioners have the required training and authorisations to provide medical therapeutic services at these centres. Seeing our clients in these settings allows us to work on community participation goals, behavioural support plans and social interactions in different dynamic and real-life environments. Please speak to your Soaring Health practitioner about community consultations.
Soaring Health provided telehealth consultations well before the COVID pandemic. We have refined remote consultations to deliver seamless, secure, easy-to-join telehealth appointments while providing the same level of treatment service you’d receive with an in-person consultation. Connecting with your Soaring Health practitioner really is as simple as clicking a button, no matter where you are. As well as bypassing travel and mobility limitations, telehealth is recommended for clients with a compromised immune system. We strive to make your treatment experience as safe and convenient as possible.