Last updated: 22 April 2021
Occupational Therapist's help people who have difficulties carrying out day-to-day activities because of a disability, illness, trauma, ageing, and a range of long-term conditions. Accidents, illness, disability, mental health issues and ageing affect millions of people, making it harder for them to do everyday things, along with activities they enjoy. As an occupational therapist, you’ll help all kinds of people overcome all kinds of challenges, so they can live as fully and independently as possible. This might involve learning new ways to do things, or making changes to their environment to make things easier.
A day in the life
In the role, you could help:
- someone adapt to life after major surgery.
- people with mental illnesses or learning disabilities with everyday activities such as work or volunteering.
- elderly people stay in their own homes by providing adaptations such as level access showers or stair lifts.
You'll find solutions to everyday problems, such as:
- advising on how to approach a task differently.
- using equipment or assistive technology.
- adapting the living or working environment.
- finding strategies to meet your patients' goals.
As well as working with individual patients and their families, you could also work with groups, or as part of a multidisciplinary team in hospitals, clinics, charities, prisons and social services departments.
Once you’ve qualified, you’ll have annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) check-ins, where we’ll discuss your career aspirations and plan how we can help you to achieve them, so you’re always moving forward. You’ll be encouraged to join the British Association of Occupational Therapists where you’ll gain professional indemnity coverage and a trade union membership.
You’ll also be able to specialise in areas such as elderly care or paediatrics. You could move into research or education, and there are opportunities overseas. Or with experience, further qualifications and training, you could apply for more specialist and senior posts.
For more information regarding joining our team, please submit a form through the ‘Contact us’ page or contact the Human Resources team, who are more than happy to help, on 02392 286577 or email email@example.com.
Team Lead Occupational Therapist
What made you become an occupational therapist? - I was uncertain about my career path and knew I wanted to work with people, in a creative way. I met by chance a couple of Occupational Therapists, researched in a library and decided to retrain.
How did you become an occupational therapist? - I applied to university’s (having already completed a degree I didn’t need to do an access course or gain further qualifications.) I volunteered in and visited a couple of OT departments to inform my Uni application and support the interviews.
What do you do on a day to day basis? - Our patients are over 85 years of age, with a variety of conditions and social circumstances. We see patients who are living in their own home and whose function has changed. Our job is so varied, no two days are the same. Our role is to work with the multidisciplinary ward team and other discharge services to maintain/improve function and independence, and to support timely discharges from hospital. We gather any new patient back ground information in the morning and attend an MDT Board Round – collecting referrals and triaging. We work very closely with our physio colleagues and decide on our patients for the day. We complete initial and functional assessments on the wards.
Treatment plans may include; access visits to the patient’s property, falls environmental checks, falls prevention and advice, transfer practice, tips, techniques and strategies to adapt daily living tasks, equipment provision and minor adaptations, cognitive assessments, liaison and onward referral families, carers and other support and community services.
As a manager, I also ensure the team are functioning and happy, ensuring supervision and training are ongoing, the rota is up to date and systems are working smoothly. I attend lots of meetings in the wider hospital, look at service improvements, audits and links with community and other teams to ensure the wider systems are working well together.
Why did you choose PHU? - When I was not working and on extended maternity leave, my son dislocated his shoulder, I brought him to A&E here, everyone was so helpful and kind I decided to find the therapy department and enquire about vacancies. I initially volunteered to get my registration back and have been here ever since (13 years).
What do you enjoy about being an occupational therapist? - In our team we really believe in “Last 100 days” , so I love making a difference to our patients and their families. Putting them in the centre of all we do. Ensuring a speedy, well planned discharge, if possible to their home, it’s really satisfying. I really enjoy the variety, the problem solving and unpicking, resolving challenging situations and circumstances. I love working in a team, my team and the wider MDT’s and also supporting and encouraging staff in their careers. I also really enjoy the energy of a large hospital environment.
Career plans and advice for others - Always have a look around, volunteer, ask to spend some time with people and find out what they do.