Occupational Therapy Week 2016
It's Occupational Therapy Week 7-14 November in the UK, and in line with the theme initiated by the College of Occupational Therapists, students from the University of Bradford are visiting local schools to promote occupational therapy as a career.
Nationally, there have been calls for more occupational therapists to be employed in areas of the NHS where they can help prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. The College of Occupational Therapists ‘Improving Lives, Saving Money’ campaign, demonstrates many areas where occupational therapists have a vital role in the NHS and social care, particularly in prevention of hospital admissions and the facilitation of safe discharge home. More occupational therapists working in Accident and Emergency Departments, and teaming up with paramedics, to keep people safe and independent in their own homes, could not only help patients in the future, but also continue to save vital NHS resources.
What do Occupational Therapists do?
Occupational therapists have traditionally worked in health and social care, viewing individuals holistically and demonstrating expertise in assessing an individual’s skills and capabilities. They are also trained to analyse a person’s activities or occupations that they need and want to do, as well as the barriers or facilitators presented by the environment. Following on from this they are able to work collaboratively with individuals in providing interventions, enabling independence and increased abilities in meaningful occupations.
Occupational therapists are trained to work with people not only with physical and mental health conditions but also with those who may not have had opportunities in life to fulfil their potential, and for this reason they can work effectively in many different settings. Because of their wide remit, occupational therapists can also work in schools, charities, voluntary organisations and private practice.
As part of their studies, all students at the University of Bradford have their last professional practice placement in an area of diverse practice where there is no occupational therapy service. They subsequently develop a project related to the occupational needs of the specific client group. Evidence has shown that this type of placement provides students with additional attributes such as increased autonomy, professional identity and skills in project management. It also increases knowledge of occupational therapy for organisations, and in some cases has resulted in the development of further occupational therapy posts.
Caption: 1st year students at Belle Vue Girls school, Bradford