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Archive for category: OT Works Here

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O-Tip of the Week: Ways to Prevent Sitting Disease

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

This week’s O-Tip of the Week focuses on ways to get you moving throughout the day in order to keep a healthy lifestyle and prevent sitting disease.

Bring a pair of running shoes with you to work and take a walk on your lunch and/or breaks.  Walking is great for cardiovascular and bone health and will help to prevent the negative effects of sitting all day.

Learn more ways to combat the negative effects of sitting disease in our post, Solutions to Stop Sitting Disease.

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A MUST READ New Guideline for Insurance OTs in Ontario

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

With all the legislative changes in the very contentious auto insurance industry, it can be hard to stay current.  Case law, reports, position papers, and of course the high-profile circulations of the Toronto Star.  But sometimes what goes unnoticed is the work of the Colleges or Professional Associations that spend time and resources trying to provide guidance and support to those of us working in this everchanging area of practice.

In the world of Occupational Therapy, one recent document has been posted by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario that thoroughly speaks to the challenges, college expectations and tug-of-war that OT’s experience in this difficult sector.  This circulation, entitled “Guideline for Working with Third Party Payers” is a must-read for OT’s in the insurance industry, and serves as a useful tool for anyone (clients, lawyers, insurers, other professionals) who retain, work with, or otherwise engage with an OT for assessment or treatment services.  The guideline (https://www.coto.org/news/new-guidelines-for-working-with-third-party-payers) covers all important aspects of practice in the world of third party work, and includes the following summarized sections:

Providing Ethical and Competent Client Care reviews the Ethical responsibilities of the OT to be transparent, fair and impartial.

Defining Your Role and Setting Expectations with Stakeholders addresses how important it is for OT’s to follow the Standards for OT Assessment and to understand the limits to their own competencies when accepting referrals.

Consent and Personal Health Information discusses how to manage difficult consent situations, for example if another person indicates they got “consent” for the OT, or if a client later withdraws consent during an assessment or treatment. Importantly, it also talks to an OT’s requirement to get new consent when presented with a request to review or comment on new information that was not received when initial consent was obtained.  The submission of reports in draft form to third parties is also covered.

Managing Records and Reports reminds OT’s of their responsibility with record keeping, privacy legislation, and of course the client’s right to access their records.

Managing Conflicts of Interest considers the challenges in this high-stakes industry that is fraught with important funding decisions, conflicting agendas, and relationships that can be formed with clients, insurers, lawyers and the like.  This section deals with these competing interests, conflicting standards and opinions, personal conflicts between oneself and third parties, companies or even other professionals.  Also covered in this section is referrals received from friends or family members, being requested to observe an independent medical exam, and treating clients that are related.  OT’s are reminded that practicing within a conflict of interest (perceived, real or implied) is considered professional misconduct.

Managing Professional Boundaries are addressed and this section highlights different types of potential boundary crossings with clients and referral sources / payers.  It speaks to monetary relationships and financial / gift incentives as a boundary crossing and one that can jeopardize client outcomes and breach professional boundaries.

Use of Title is discussed as a reminder to the different titles an OT may have in providing service, and how to be clear about their role at all times.

Independent Practice reviews the nature of being an “independent contractor or provider” and the resources available to set up, and run, an independent operation.

Lastly, the guideline covers the expectations for providing services to clients who Live Outside of Ontario and reminds OT’s that the client’s location, not theirs, is the jurisdictional boundary and practicing outside of Ontario is not permitted unless the OT has a license in that location as well.

Overall, this document is a useful tool and hard reminder to OT’s of their obligations and expectations as licensed professionals in Ontario.  It may also prove helpful for other stakeholders to review, such that they too understand the rules and boundaries on OT’s so that they can be mindful of these in their working relationships with us.

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O-Tip of the Week: A Smart Solution for Printing Success

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

This week’s O-Tip of the Week focuses on ways to assist children who are struggling with printing and handwriting.

Using a small pencil or broken crayon is a great way to help kids learn how to properly hold a pencil.  Learn more about how Occupational Therapists help kids with printing and handwriting in our OT-V episode:  Solutions For Printing Success.

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The OT Role with Medicinal Marijuana Use

Guest Blogger: Carolyn Rocca, Occupational Therapist

The current legislation on medical marijuana use in Canada greatly shapes our role as health professionals. Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), Canadians who have been authorized by a physician to access cannabis for medical purposes can purchase safe, quality-controlled cannabis from the 52 authorized licenced producers in Canada (Health Canada, 2017). With the legalization of marijuana in Canada being on the horizon, we can anticipate that many more of our clients may turn to it when seeking relief.

But first, it is important to consider why people are turning to cannabis for medicinal use. While some risks do exist, evidence suggests that the use of marijuana can offer several benefits including: reductions in nausea, decreased pain intensity, and improved sleep quality (Health Canada, 2013; Whiting, et al., 2015). Additionally, some clients report experiencing reductions in anxiety, increased relaxation, and relief from tension, headaches, and migraines. With these benefits and relatively mild side effects, this paints quite an enticing picture for those who may be consuming much more potent medications with more serious risks and side-effects.

If more clients are beginning or continuing to turn to cannabis as a source of relief, we as healthcare providers need to identify what role we play in supporting their decision to do so, including the role of Occupational Therapy which is explored as follows:

  1. Focus on safe use of cannabis: As part of the OT role, it is important that we ensure that clients are utilizing medicinal cannabis under the care of a physician, and are using it within the parameters set out in their prescription. Clients should be advised to discuss their cannabis use with her physician, as they would with any medication, as this falls outside of our OT scope. However, OTs can be involved in the process of helping clients track their relief from symptoms and potential side effects, according to the strain, dosage, and time of day and can help people to direct certain questions / concerns to their physician as appropriate.
  2. Monitor the impact of cannabis on daily activities: Our role is to be aware of the potential risks and benefits of medicinal cannabis use, to identify when cannabis use may be impacting clients’ abilities to perform day to day activities, and to subsequently provide strategies as needed. For example, if a client typically becomes drowsy when taking cannabis which may then impact their safety in the kitchen, an OT may be able to recommend strategies such as the use of kitchen timers, or help to schedule cannabis use at safer times of the day.
  3. Review available pain management strategies: As cannabis use is only one option for pain management, our role is to ensure that clients are aware of other available pain management strategies. Some strategies include: pacing activities to conserve energy, resting, massage, exercising, stretching, other medications, staying active (counterintuitive but true!) as well as compensatory strategies. Our focus as OTs is on helping clients to resume increased function by utilizing the pain management strategies they are open to given all the options available and the training we can provide for each.
  4. Assist in navigating resources: For clients who wish to produce medicinal cannabis for personal use, our role is to ensure that clients are aware of the guidelines set out in the ACMPR. We may also have a role in assisting clients in completing required application forms (found here) and planning for safe production, use, and storage of cannabis if they become registered to do so with Health Canada. Further, under the ACMPR, it is a client’s responsibility to make sure that all medicinal marijuana plants or cannabis products in their possession are secure, and that other people, including children, cannot access them. Therefore, OTs can assist in developing strategies to ensure they can meet the grow, safety and storage requirements.
  5. Consider affordability: As clients can expect to spend about $7-$12 per gram of medical marijuana (Medical Marijuana, 2016), it will be important to consider if their prescribed cannabis is covered under insurance funds, or whether they require budgeting strategies for this expense. An OT can also assist in this process, along with ensuring that the affordability is monitored and budgeted for long term.

Considering how imminent changes to Canada’s cannabis legalization are, being aware of the legislation changes in our society is highly valuable in our line of work. The OT profession is well-positioned to support clients in navigating their medical marijuana options in the most safe and functional manner possible. Seek the assistance and guidance of your healthcare team, including an OT, if you are thinking about, or currently incorporating, medicinal cannabis into your healthcare routine.

Resources & References

Government of Canada (2016). Information bulletin: safety and security considerations when producing cannabis for your own medical purposes. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/information-bulletin-safety-security-considerations-producing-cannabis-for-own-medical-purposes.html

Health Canada (2013). Information for health care professionals: Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the cannabinoids. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/pdf/marihuana/med/infoprof-eng.pdf

Health Canada (2016). Drugs and health products: Information for health care practitioners. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/med/index-eng.php

Health Canada (2017). Authorized licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-use-marijuana/licensed-producers/authorized-licensed-producers-medical-purposes.html

Medical Marijuana (2016). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from https://medicalmarijuana.ca/resource-center/faq-2/

Minister of Justice (2017). Access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations. Retrieved from http://laws.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2016-230.pdf

Whiting, P. F., Wolff, R. F., Deshpande, S., Di Nisio, M., Duffy, S., Hernandez, A. V., … & Schmidlkofer, S. (2015). Cannabinoids for medical use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Jama, 313(24), 2456-2473. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6358

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O-Tip of the Week: Save Time and Energy in the Kitchen

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

This week’s O-Tip of the Week focuses on ways to conserve energy in the kitchen by saving you time and effort.

When preparing meals we recommend that you gather ALL necessary  ingredients before beginning.  Doing so will save you time and energy by reducing trips back and forth from the pantry or refrigerator, and avoiding a last minute run to the grocery store for that missing ingredient!

Learn more about how to conserve energy in the kitchen in the following episode from our OT-V series:  Smart Solutions to Make Life Simpler (and Safer!) in the Kitchen.

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Understanding Your Rehab Therapy Professionals

Navigating the world of rehab therapists can be confusing – there are multiple types of therapists, whose abilities may seem similar when taken at face value based on general terms like “supporting rehabilitation goals” or “providing treatment”. However, when you compare these professionals based on their educational backgrounds and requirements, as well as their defined roles and responsibilities as set out by each profession’s respective college, professional association, or employer, it can become clearer which professional is best suited to help serve your personal needs.

Below is a simple summary guide of the hierarchy of educational backgrounds and core roles of each therapist/professional- please contact your healthcare provider or Occupational Therapist if you have further questions or think the services of these professionals may benefit you.

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The “Other” Rehabilitation Therapy: OT

We came across the following article in the Huffington Post which helps to shed more light onto the value of OT.  Occupational Therapists strive to help people recover from accidents and illnesses by working with those affected to create and achieve meaningful goals.  We especially love how the article distinguishes between Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT), two extremely valuable therapies, helping the public to learn more about OT– The “Other” Rehabilitation Therapy.

The Huffington Post:  Following Surgery, Injury or a Disabling Disease, Occupational Therapists Provide a Bridge to Normal Life—and Hope

To learn more about the differences between PT and OT refer to our previous post, “OT or PT? Both or Neither?

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Simple Stretches to Improve Health and Productivity

Humans are not made for immobility. Even if you take a healthy joint and put it in a cast for even a few days, when you remove this the movement of the joint will be decreased, pain will appear, and muscles that surround the joint will have started to atrophy. So, how does this translate to jobs that require us to sit all day, being immobile at a computer, in a car, or at a desk?

It’s important for your physical and mental health to involve frequent movement into your day.  Not only will this help you combat the negative effects of “sitting disease,” it can help you to become more productive.  Take a look at the following from Positive Health Wellness for some tips and simple stretches to incorporate into your work day.

Positive Health Wellness: 12 Quick Stretches to Boost Day-time Productivity

To learn more about Sitting Disease and how you can prevent the negative effects, take a look at our previous post, “Solutions To Stop Sitting Disease.

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Back to School: Back to Routine!

Due to vacations, sleepovers, and the unstructured nature of no school, daily routines are often disrupted over the summer months. A consistent daily routine for kids is critical to them learning responsibility, time management, and so they get a good sleep.  Therefore, in September it is important to re-establish what morning, after-school and bedtime time should look like.

Use our customizable free printable to help kids stay on track each day in the morning, after-school and before bed!  Be sure to review this with the kids before implementing, confirm the expectations, and get their commitment.  You’ll be well on your way to creating a less stressful and more organized home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more helpful tools for children and adults visit our Printable Resources Page.