Occupational therapists: Helping you get back to work and so much more


If you’re seriously injured in an accident, an occupational therapist (OT) will likely play a key role in helping you get your life back to normal—and getting you back to work is only part of the picture.

You don’t need a physician referral to work with an OT so you may be on your own to find one to help you. An excellent place to start is the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario’s website. Simply click on “OT Directory” and you’ll access a database of all the registered OTs in Ontario. You can search by region, language spoken, area of practice and more.

WHO: OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

WHAT: An OT will help teach you the skills you need to complete your activities of daily living, such as cleaning your house, by showing you customized methods that are adapted to your limitations. He or she may also make specific modifications to certain tasks so you can perform them more easily, often by using assistive devices. If your injuries permanently prevent you from returning to your pre-accident employment, an OT will help you find a new career that not only uses the skills you’ve acquired through education, training or experience but also conforms to your current level of functional ability. If necessary, vocational retraining will be arranged to help you acquire new skills so that you may continue to have a meaningful career. Occupational therapists take a client-centred approach, working on your priorities and goals for recovery.

WHO PAYS? OHIP doesn’t cover an OT’s services but your workplace health benefits or car insurance may cover their involvement in your recovery.

YOUR ROLE: If you’re working with an OT following a motor vehicle accident, be honest—and specific—about the areas you’re having difficulty with and the things you’d most like to focus on. Ask for “homework” (and make sure you do it). Follow through on your OT’s recommendations for assistive devices—but if a certain recommendation doesn’t seem to be working for you, ask for an alternative.

 

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