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Occupational Therapy 


What does an Occupational Therapist (OT) do?

An OT works with people who have physical, psychological and/or social difficulties, either from birth or as the resultof an accident, illness or ageing. Their aim is to enable people to live as independently as possible.

An OT understands that everyone's lifestyle is different. There are certain things that we all must do every day (for example, get up in the morning, wash and dress ourselves, prepare and eat a meal). However, when, how and where we do these things are personal to us as individuals. We also have different likes and dislikes, whether it be choosing and wearing our favourite clothes, cooking our favourite food, going out with our friends or working where we want to. It is all these differences that make each of us unique.

An OT will work with a person to design a programme of treatment based on the individual's unique lifestyle, environment and preferences. They will consider the importance of how a person's physical, psychological and social needs will impact on their recovery process and help them to achieve the goals that are most important to them.

OTs work in a variety of settings and practice areas, for example; hospitals, social services, schools and day centres.


Occupational Therapy at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre

OTs at the Spinal Centre work with Therapy Support Workers and a Technician. As an inpatient, you will be allocated a primary OT (who will be the main OT working with you) and an associate OT (who will support your primary OT). We also work closely with the rest of the multi-disciplinary team, particularly the Physiotherapists.

The OT department is generally open during office hours from Monday – Friday, but is closed at lunch times. You will have allocated times when you are invited to attend sessions which will be specified on your individual weekly timetable. You can normally access the various resources at other times; please ask your OT for details.

We will work with you on a one to one basis and will aim to tailor your rehabilitation according to your priorities to meet you needs. We also run some group sessions which may also be appropriate for you to join.


OT input during your acute phase

  • OTs can provide specialist types of alarm call systems, if required. These will enable you to call for someone on the ward.
  • Mirrors which may help you to see your environment better whilst you are on bed rest.
  • Reading stands that can hold a paperback, magazine or newspaper.
  • Talking books on tape for loan.
  • Help looking after your hands, if appropriate, depending on your type of injury.
  • Help in planning for your rehabilitation.
  • Contact with your local community services (with your permission) to begin preparing for your return home.
  • With other staff to help you to get up for the first time.

OT input during your rehabilitation phase

  • Helping you look after your hands and arms, if appropriate, which may involve making a splint(s).
  • Wheelchairs, seating and posture.
  • Assisting you to do everyday tasks again. These may include self-care, domestic skills, leisure, work and study.
  • Going out into town and further afield.
  • Driving and transport issues.
  • Practising new skills to help build your confidence and stamina.
  • Looking at how your environment (a room, your home, your work, your study place, a garden) can be adapted to enable you to be more independent.
  • Supporting you in dealing with outside agencies (particularly Social Services) to enable you to move on from the Spinal Centre
  • Assessing and recommending equipment such as shower chairs, hoists and environmental control systems and help with applying for funding.
  • Helping you to learn computer skills. If you are unable to use a keyboard, you may be able to explore other means of computer access
  • Use of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) flat for time away from the ward and in preparation for going home
  • Planning your discharge home from hospital
  • Offering support and training for you, your family and friends and help your return to normal life.
  • Any other issues which may be important to you. Please ask, we will try to help

We are continually in touch with other Spinal Centres and are involved in research and service development. We are always grateful for your ideas and comments for improving our service to you.

If you need this information in another language or medium (audio, large print, etc) please contact the Patient
Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 374 208 email:

Page Last Updated: 1/30/2016 3:26 PM 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website