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Value of occupational therapists in social care revealed

Benefit of occupational therapy outlined in report

Published on 28th August 2019

Despite making up just 4% of the regulated workforce, occupational therapists address 35 – 45% of local authority referrals, a report has found.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists report reveals that occupational therapists take a holistic approach to providing social care and look at not only the person but their occupations and their environment, whether it is within their home or related to accessing their community or work.

RCOT Chief Executive Julia Scott, said: “Every day we hear about the crisis in social care, people not having access to services when they need them, people moving into residential care due to the lack of community services and families and carers under enormous pressure.

“People who need social services are struggling with daily life. Successive governments have continually promised to focus on social care, but people in need don’t have time to wait for a green or white paper, they need help now. It’s clear that occupational therapists are a vital part of the solution. They give a person centred approach which focuses on making the things that matter to people possible again. By focusing on the person’s ability to participate in daily life they can vastly improve their quality of life.

“This report outlines how occupational therapy services are not only cost effective but can make a considerable difference to people’s lives on a day to day basis. Occupational Therapists are increasingly recognised as an essential part of social care services and in some local authority areas they are the first to assess people and swiftly resolve difficulties without the need to refer on to other parts of the system .”

By focusing on the person’s ability to participate in daily life occupational therapists:

- Identify the right support to address people’s needs

- Teach strategies and adapt the home to keep people as independent and safe as possible.

- Address the barriers to people staying connectedwithin their local community.

"Reablement supports people, who have experienced deterioration in their health and ability to manage everyday activities, to relearn skills so that they can return to doing what they want and need to be able to do. There is good evidence that reablement improves people’s sense of wellbeing, prolongs their ability to live at home, and removes or reduces the need for home care," the report concludes.

The report: Relieving the pressure on social care the value of occupational therapy

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