What is an Occupational Therapist (OT)?
An Occupational Therapist is part of the healthcare team involved in the care of patients with arthritis. The Occupational Therapy team provides help in solving problems caused by arthritis and can help you to live a normal life despite your joint disease.They will work with you to help you manage everyday tasks more easily.
Your rheumatologist may refer you to the Occupational Therapist. If you are an inpatient they will see you on the ward otherwise the occupational therapist will usually see you in the OT department. They may visit you at home to assess the home environment for equipment or adaptations.
Your OT appointment
Please read through the following questions for more information on your OT appointment, click on the question to reveal the answer.
Your first appointment will usually last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The OT will assess your condition; find out which joints are affected, where you have pain and how your condition is affecting you. The OT will usually make further appointments for you.
The Occupational Therapist will talk to you to find out how you are managing with carrying out everyday tasks such as getting washed and dressed, preparing meals, completing household tasks, hobbies, leisure activities and managing at work. This is to identify any areas that might be difficult. Once they have found out which areas are important to you and established specific problems, the OT will discuss different ways that may be of help to you.
It may be useful to think about and write down any problems you are having before your appointment.
The Occupational Therapist may help you by:
- Giving practical advice to help overcome problems at home and in the workplace. For example different ways to complete tasks, sitting to do jobs instead of standing
- Assessing for and advising on equipment to make tasks easier and less painful. For example, equipment to help you get on/off the toilet more easily, put socks on, open jars and cans
- Talking about your condition, how it affects you and what you can do to help yourself. This might involve you learning how to manage tiredness, using your joints differently to help reduce pain and strain and how to plan your day
- Providing and/or making splints to rest or support painful or damaged joints. These may be to wear at night to help relieve pain or during the day to provide support and help you complete everyday tasks. Splints are removable.
- Teaching activities to help improve movement or strength of your hand. This may be done jointly with a physiotherapist.
- Teaching you ways to help cope with pain, for example relaxation techniques, the use of hot and cold.
If you are experiencing any problems with everyday activities and think seeing the OT may be helpful please speak to your doctor or nurse at your next appointment and they can arrange for the OT to see you.
For further information on Occupational therapy please contact the Occupational therapy department on 01782 673561 / 673560 and ask to speak to the rheumatology OT's.