Occupational therapy is a health science for people of all ages who are experiencing difficulties related to their physical or mental health. Through treatments that can take the form of exercises, task simulations and advice, the occupational therapist works to maximize your autonomy in all activities that are important to you, such as work and leisure.
Why consult an occupational therapist?
The role of the occupational therapist is to maximize the capacities necessary for the accomplishment of your activities such as work, domestic chores, hobbies or social interactions. When a physical or mental health problem affects these abilities, the occupational therapist's interventions aim both for optimal recovery and the implementation of effective strategies to compensate for residual disabilities. He could, for example, recommend the use of an orthosis or a technical aid, changes in your environment or in the way you perform your tasks, etc.
What are the benefits of occupational therapy?
The treatments, exercises and advice from your occupational therapist work to restore the proper functioning needed for you to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. You will have all the tools you need to maintain good physical and mental health over the long term. In general, occupational therapy aims at:
- a return to work, if you were off work
- a return to your social and leisure activities
- improved sleep
- an increase in energy level
- better stress management
- an improvement in your interpersonal relationships
- greater daily satisfaction
What treatments are used in occupational therapy?
Different treatments can be used by an occupational therapist, such as strengthening exercises, simulations of daily or work tasks, advice on posture or energy, stress and pain management. Your occupational therapist will work with you to establish a program of activities to help achieve your goals step by step.
Activity is the means of intervention favoured by the occupational therapist to develop or recover your abilities and thus maximize your autonomy. Your sports, leisure or work activities will be integrated into your choice of exercises so that your rehabilitation takes into account your interests and obligations in a concrete way.
What does an occupational therapy session entail?
From the first appointment, the occupational therapist will assess your condition to identify the problems, understand your expectations and establish a treatment plan that includes goals meaningful to you and concrete means to achieve them.
At the beginning of the meeting, your occupational therapist will ask you questions about your symptoms and their impact on you at work, during sleep, in your leisure and social life, etc. Your environment, such as the specifics of your home, workplace and support network (family, friends, colleagues, etc.), are always taken into account.
Subsequently, the occupational therapist will dissect the activities for which you have difficulty in order to establish their specific requirements and define a personalized intervention plan accordingly. This plan will be adapted to each session according to your evolution.
Occupational therapy services available
General occupational therapy
General occupational therapy is for anyone whose daily functioning is affected by a physical health condition or who wishes to maximize their autonomy at a certain stage of their life. The occupational therapist will help you regain and maintain your abilities by taking into account the goals that are important to you.
Occupational therapy after a workplace accident (CNESST)
Occupational therapists have extensive expertise to help you regain the skills necessary to return to your job and all your activities. They will accompany you to maximize your autonomy at each stage of your rehabilitation.
Occupational therapy after a motor vehicle accident (SAAQ)
Occupational therapists are trained to help you recover your abilities in order to resume your activities after a motor vehicle accident. They will guide you to maximize your autonomy at each stage of your rehabilitation.
Mental health occupational therapy
Occupational therapy in mental health is for anyone whose daily functioning is affected by a psychological condition, including various mental health disorders such as burnout, anxiety disorders, depression and post-workout stress disorder. The occupational therapist will help you put in place concrete means to achieve your goals and improve your quality of life.
Your rehabilitation counselor may refer you to mental health occupational therapy as part of your rehabilitation program.
Ergonomic assessment of a position or work tasks
The occupational therapist can assess your position or your work tasks in order to adapt them to your needs and the nature of your work. If you work at a computer, several factors can influence your posture, such as the fit of your work chair or office furniture and the layout of equipment. If you work in a factory, your working environment must be adapted to the demands of your job. By evaluating your environment, the occupational therapist will explain the necessary adjustments and provide you with many tips to prevent pain.
Assessment of your ability to drive a vehicle
Occupational therapists who have the necessary training can assess your skills for safe driving a vehicle in accordance with the requirements of the SAAQ (Société d’assurance automobile du Québec). The evaluation includes a series of tests and simulations, in the clinic and on the road, in order to paint an overall picture of your skills. You will receive tips to ensure your safety while driving or to help you find other safe means of transportation. Based on his assessment, the occupational therapist will formulate his recommendations to the SAAQ, which will make the final decision on whether or not to maintain the driver’s license.
Parking stickers and paratransit
The occupational therapist can assess your physical and cognitive abilities in order to obtain a parking sticker or access to a paratransit service. He will take care of completing the necessary documents to apply to the SAAQ.
Pediatric occupational therapy
Pediatric occupational therapy helps children who have functional difficulties related to gross or fine motor skills, visual and sensory perception, writing, computer skills and gaming skills. After a comprehensive assessment, the occupational therapist will propose a treatment plan that will work for you and your child, in addition to providing advice and exercises often in the form of a game to do at home.