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Tag Archive for: occupational therapy

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Help Make OT Services More Affordable For All

The profession of Occupational Therapy is holistic, comprehensive, and addresses the many challenges children, adults and seniors face throughout the lifespan.  Through direct therapy, education, devices, and consultation, Occupational Therapy helps people to manage better physically, emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally while completing tasks at home, work, school, or in the community.  So, if OT is so helpful, why is it not included on most benefit plans?  It is time to help people to have access to this impactful profession!

You can help by signing and sharing the petition by clicking on the link below. By signing you are asking for insurance companies, major unions and large employers to recognize OT as a valuable service and include OT services in Extended Health Benefits.

Together we can create change!

Change.org:  Include Occupational Therapy on Extended Health Benefit Plans

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The Picky Eating Problem

Do you have a child that is a picky eater?  For many this is a common issue and another reason that parents seek OT services for their child. While it is normal for kids to have food preferences and dislikes, picky eating can be very concerning for parents.

Occupational Therapists can work with families to create solutions tailored to the individual child. In general we suggest some of the following tips:

– Remove the pressure
– Allow the child to “play with their food”
– Encourage food exploration on their own terms
– Maintain a consistent meal-time routine
– Introduce changes and new foods slowly – overcoming picky eating is a very gradual process

Watch our video below to learn more on how an Occupational Therapist can help families overcome the picky eating problem and raise healthy, happy eaters.

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Occupational Therapy Works For Personal Injury

October is Occupational Therapy month in Canada.  This month we will be celebrating and sharing on our blog everything OT.  In our OT Month series, “OT Works Here,” we will be highlighting some of the key areas in which OT works to change lives by providing solutions for living.

Today we want to highlight the many ways that Occupational Therapy works in cases of personal injury in the following infographic:

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Occupational Therapy Works In The Workplace

October is Occupational Therapy month in Canada.  This month we will be celebrating and sharing on our blog everything OT.  In our OT Month series, “OT Works Here,” we will be highlighting some of the key areas in which OT works to change lives by providing solutions for living.

Today we want to highlight the many ways that Occupational Therapy works in the workplace in the following infographic:

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Occupational Therapy Works For Kids

October is Occupational Therapy month in Canada.  This month we will be celebrating and sharing on our blog everything OT.  In our OT Month series, “OT Works Here,” we will be highlighting some of the key areas in which OT works to change lives by providing solutions for living.

Today we want to highlight the many ways that Occupational Therapy works for kids in the following infographic:

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Occupational Therapy Works For Seniors!

October is Occupational Therapy month in Canada.  This month we will be celebrating and sharing on our blog everything OT.  In our OT Month series, “OT Works Here,” we will be highlighting some of the key areas in which OT works to change lives by providing solutions for living.

Today we want to highlight the many ways that Occupational Therapy works for seniors in the following infographic:

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Chronic Pain a Problem? Try OT

Co-written with Claire Hurd, Occupational Therapist

We have all, at some point, likely experienced pain.  A broken bone, sprained or strained joint, that killer headache, or even a long-term issue – pain prevents people from engaging in activities that are important to them, or at the least inhibits enjoyment and full participation in those things they want and need to do. It doesn’t matter if the cause of the pain is fully understood — the person’s experience of pain is what is important, and is what affects function.  As the role of an occupational therapist is to enable clients to engage in activities that they want, need, or are expected to do, OT’s have the capability to help individuals with chronic pain to better manage their lives. Occupational therapists have many tools they use to assist people in this regard.

Activities that require repetitive movements or a great deal of range of motion may exacerbate pain symptoms. Even if an occupational therapist cannot fix the source of pain, they can instead adapt how a person does an activity, or where they do it and with what equipment. Occupational Therapists know about different tools and devices that can be used to modified activities to improve comfort and prevent future disability, and we stay on top of the latest and greatest devices as these hit the market. Incorporating healthy body mechanics into an activity, whether or not this is assisted with equipment, may help to manage pain. Sometimes the order of steps in the activity can be changed to make it more comfortable. Making rest breaks part of the activity is also very important.

Fatigue often affects people with chronic pain and can be a barrier to planning or doing meaningful things. Occupational therapists are well-versed in energy conservation techniques and pacing strategies, which can not only improve fatigue, but can also help to decrease pain symptoms. Energy conservation and pacing can sound simple, but it can be challenging to integrate new habits into one’s life; an occupational therapist can provide an individualized system and the support to stick to it and make it routine. Good sleep hygiene, which typically includes a bedtime routine as well as avoiding substances and activities which can interfere with sleep, is also important to prevent fatigue. What constitutes an effective sleep routine is also unique to each individual, and an occupational therapist can help you find what works best for you.

One of the most difficult consequences of chronic pain is often its’ effect on mental health. Occupational therapists trained in psychotherapy can provide counselling and teach emotional coping skills. They may also provide cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps clients to change their thoughts and behaviours, in this case related to their pain. Training in the skill of mindfulness can also allow individuals with chronic pain to change the way in which they are aware of their pain in the moment, and decrease an overall perception of it.

Chronic pain is best managed with prevention and early intervention. Occupational therapists can help you ensure that how you do your favourite activities does not cause or worsen pain, and that you get to participate in those meaningful life roles (old or new) despite pain. Everyone’s experience of pain is different, and you and your therapist will work collectively as you find solutions that help you manage your pain and work on the “solutions for living”.

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Financing Home Modifications

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

The foundation of the profession of Occupational Therapy is creating Person-Environment-Occupation fit.  We call this our PEO model.  What it means is that optimal function arises from the best interaction of the person, their environment, and those “occupations” that are the daily tasks they need to complete.

So, if you are struggling to complete daily activities, or are feeling that you need more support to manage at home, or are worried you might get injured falling in or around your house, perhaps you need to consider, or are considering, home modifications.

But before you get scared at the thought of a large-scale renovation, it is important to recognize that home modifications can be as small as changing some door handles to as large as installing an elevator.   There is a continuum, and your capabilities, needs, and current environment will dictate a custom approach.  So, what is the process for understanding how home modification can help, and how can you possibly fund these?  I am glad you asked…

Perhaps I am biased, but in my opinion, the process should start with an occupational therapy assessment.  If you call a contractor for a quote to say, renovate your bathroom, he will provide you with the estimate you want.  But what the contractor won’t understand is the PERSON or the OCCUPATIONS that person is struggling to complete.  For example, if there are larger issues, or bigger problems lurking, is the contractor the right person to advise you on this?  What if there are ways to improve your safety in the washroom without engaging in a full renovation of the space?  An occupational therapist will be able to problem solve your concerns with you, while recommending multiple options to consider – from inexpensive to more costly.  The few hundred dollars you will pay the OT may just save you thousands in unnecessary renovation costs.

Once you have considered all the available options, and have confirmed the scope of work, you will need to get estimates on the costs of the work involved.  It is important that you hire a vendor that has completed renovations for accessibility before, as not all contractors will have this knowledge and expertise.

Now you have your price – so how can you pay for it?  Here are some financing suggestions based on my years of experience in this field:

Insurance:

Extended Health – if you are still working, or still have access to extended health benefits, check your coverage.  Many plans have up to $10,000 in coverage for home modifications.  You will need to submit an estimate to them first for approval.

Motor Vehicle – if your disability has been the result of a motor vehicle accident, and you still have an open claim, you may be able to access funding through your insurance provider.

Veterans Affairs – if your disability has been the result of military service, Veterans Affairs may be able to provide funding.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board – if your disability was the result of a workplace accident, and you still have an open claim, funding may be available through your WSIB.

Lenders:

Traditional Loan – if you are a homeowner with good credit, your bank may be able to provide you with a traditional loan for the monies you need.  As with all loans, there will be interested and a set repayment schedule so budgeting beforehand is important.

Line of Credit – often people borrow money using the equity in their home as collateral.  These are more flexible than a traditional loan and work more like a credit card.  However, it requires discipline to make sure you are paying off some of the principal with each payment, as only interest payments are required on a monthly basis.

Reverse Mortgage – According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, a reverse mortgage “is a loan that is designed for homeowners 55 years of age and older.  Unlike an ordinary mortgage, you don’t have to make any regular or lump sum payments on a reverse mortgage. Instead, the interest on your reverse mortgage accumulates, and the equity that you have in your home decreases with time. If you sell your house or your home is no longer your principal residence, you must repay the loan and any interest that has accumulated” (Understanding Reverse Mortgages).  There are pros and cons to this arrangement, and not all lenders offer this.

Second Mortgage – A second mortgage is basically another mortgage against a property that already has a mortgage.  The second mortgage typically has a higher interest rate and is more risky for lenders and thus not all of them will offer this.

Talk to your lender or bank if you are looking to finance a renovation through one of these channels.

Government Programs:

March of Dimes – The March of Dimes Home Modification Program will provide $15,000 as a one-time home modification grant to people who qualify.  For information on this program, click here.

Ontario Renovates – Formerly the Regional Assistance Program (RAP), this is a municipally-based program for low-income homeowners.  The funding is provided to the municipalities to administer, but basically low-income homeowners apply based on modification needs related to a disability.  The proposed changes need to be prescribed by an occupational therapist and the funds are provided in a forgivable loan, and / or via grant.  The funding can even cover devices such as porch lifts, stair glides, etc.  Each municipality has different funding allotments and qualification criteria.  For the City of Hamilton, the program was just extended into 2019.  For more information about the program, click here or contact your municipality.

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit – while not a loan or grant, this program does allow people to claim a taxable benefit for funds they spent on home modifications.   The maximum taxable return is 15% on $10,000 spent ($1500), and not all renovations are covered.  For more information on this grant, click here.

Remember, properly planned renovations or changes to your home can have a significant impact on how you manage, and can protect you from future injury.  You may not need one solution per problem as the best solutions are often ones that impact many areas of living in one foul swoop.  Seek the services of an Occupational Therapist so they can help you to find the best PERSON-ENVIRONMENT-OCCUPATION fit for your renovation project.

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OT Helps Employees Return To Work

In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that 5.9% of full-time employees were absent from work due to illness or disability. The costs associated with workplace injuries are vast.  Studies have shown that the duration of work disability, as well as costs, are significantly reduced when the workplace has contact with a health care provider coordinating return to work interventions. In fact, well-designed return to work programs are now recognized as the best practice to reduce costs associated with worker’s compensation.

In the following video from our OT-V series we will discuss how occupational therapists can help to support the critical transition back to the workplace following an interruption of work duties due to physical or mental health issues.

Occupational therapy is a cost-effective strategy to accelerate the client’s recovery and rate of returning to work. With an effective return to work plan coordinated by an occupational therapist, injured or ill employees can recover quicker and return to work faster, significantly reducing employer costs associated with workplace injuries.