All roads lead to OT

It hasn’t been too long since OT has spread its wings here in Saudi , however I feel it has been blooming in a refreshing and relatively fast pace. And by blooming I’m talking about the passion driven occupational therapists who have paved the way for others to come. You have made an impact and it has not gone unnoticed ! A pat on the back for all of us out there for getting where we are. I will not allow myself to forget the upcoming batches of therapist who I am truly optimistic for . Can’t wait for the change you will bring!
That being said , I do feel that light must be shed on current OT settings, emerging roles we can take upon ourselves to initiate !! And raise a discussion on your inputs , insights and suggestions regarding this matter .
As we all know OT services are currently accessible through hospitalized , rehabilitative or clinical settings. Yet there are so many people who need OT services but either do not have the means to access them or are not eligible to be admitted . Unless they are readmitted to rehabilitation centers for maintenance of their current abilities once a year, if they are fortunate . Here is where I raise the question , is it time that we step out of the hospital ? As bold as the title of this blog post is, I am willing to stand by it with all my might . Everywhere you look you will find that OT has something to bring to the table . Everything is screaming out OT to the extent that I can consciously hear it .We always talk about how occupational therapy’s core stone is creativity in creating your client’s intervention plan , but its also the creativity in HOW you help them.
I’ve prepared a list of OT services and settings we can consider and hopefully one day start working towards.Some of the elements in the list may be in a clinical setting yet not currently implemented , this is why I felt the need to mention them. Optimistic that it would light a fire or passion.That sometimes is all we need to inspire an idea that changes lives .

OT practice areas:

  • Mental health care settings

Mental health care settings including Al Amal Complex for Mental Health , Medicare clinic , Edrak center , Motmaena center and other clinics around Riyadh are environments that would benefit from OT services in a tremendous amount , especially with the stigma of mental illnesses occurring our role becomes even more important.
  • Educational settings

These can include schools and universities or if needed a separate setting where we can assist clients with ranging abilities and ages through treatment programs , environmental modifications ( including consultations on barrier-free classrooms  , Cafeterias and safer playground equipment) or training programs for educators and parents.

 

  • Governmental settings

We can work in all levels of governmental settings where we can provide disability prevention/management programs and initiatives , accessibility , vocational/ health planning , and health promotion

  • Environmental modifications

We can work hand in hand with building industry professionals like architects , contractors and designers regarding implementing UNIVERSAL DESIGN in our community. We can also collaborate with tourist and travel agencies to make sure that everyone with no exception can fully engage in recreational activities. That also got me thinking in how we can even serve furniture and decor stores in modification or adaptation suiting customer’s needs.

  • Assistive technology

“To ensure clients achieve optimal function at home, work or play, occupational therapists consult in seating and positioning, mobility, wheelchair prescription, computer technology, and environmental controls. The occupational therapist may educate potential users of the equipment, determine prerequisite skills, train the client and caregiver in technology, and evaluate the home, work or community environment for barrier-free access.” CAOT

  • Ergonomics

“More and more occupational therapists are working closely with employers, employees and unions to prevent work-related injuries and to reduce on-the-job stress. Occupational therapists conduct ergonomic assessments, job analyses and functional capacity evaluations. They also recommend work site modifications and design return-to-work and disability management programs.” CAOT

  • Research

which is an area that we seem to be lacking , and not paying so much attention to.The good news is that its never too late to start ! If you feel that you have an idea in mind don’t hesitate to write a proposal and present it to a research center here in riyadh.

“Research is essential in working out which treatments work better for patients.That means clinical trials play an important role in discovering new treatments, and making sure we use existing treatments in the best way possible.” National institute for health research

  • Long-term care settings

We can design and provide activities for clients living in residential ,senior homes and nursing care settings to maintain, improve and prevent physical and/or mental health problems. We can also assist in developing or choosing programs in the facility . Those can include volunteer programs,  or provide in-services for staff and caregivers education and more.

  • Private practice

Which can be such a wide range of services such as pre-employment functional capacity evaluation , hand writing programs , home care , injury prevention , return-to-work programs, hand therapy and splinting, stress management or caregiver education and so much more.

Providing such emerging OT services can also help occupational therapists themselves in giving them different opportunities to pursue their passion. We all possess different interests and abilities so its not the end of the world if you are not so good in making a splint of performing joint mobilization ! You are still an OT . Hold on to it.
If you like to get more insight from OT’s who have tried such settings check the #OTalk hashtag on twitter where they have discussed this exact topic. What do you think about the OT services mentioned and do you feel that we are ready for them?
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