October 27 is World Occupational Therapy Day and this year's theme is 'inform, inspire, influence'. Occupational therapists (OTs) work with all age groups and in a wide range of physical and psychosocial areas. OTs assess and plan short and long term treatments tailored to an individual and his or her occupation, habits and environment. They are employed by Bermuda Hospitals Board at KEMH and MWI, by the Department of Health and in private practice.
The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson, JP, MP, said, "Every healthcare team would want to have an OT. They help people with various illnesses and disabilities adapt to their circumstances. The Ministry of Health recognizes the increasing need for Occupational Therapists, and it is one of the areas of study that qualifies for our Barbara Ball Health Scholarships. Occupational therapy is a very rewarding career for those who would like to help people living with Alzheimer's disease, cerebral palsy, autism or the loss of a limb, for example, while working as part of a team".
The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support them.
The Bermuda Occupational Therapy Association (BOTA) is one of 92 national occupational therapy organizations that make up the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. BOTA raises both awareness and funds in order to support and promote current and future OTs in Bermuda.
OTs provide advice on how to perform everyday tasks. They help adapt the settings in which the person works, lives and socializes. Examples include teaching new techniques and providing equipment which facilitates independence in personal care, reducing barriers in the home, school or office, and providing resources to lessen stress.
Photo: The Department of Health’s Occupational Therapy Team: L-R Patrice Brown, Pashe Douglas-Sampson, Holly Sinclair, Akilah Lapsley-Dyer, Julie Farnsworth, Teresa Woolridge (Coordinator, Community Rehabilitation: Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services), Tanika Rayner. Missing from the photo: Angela DeRosa, Nicole Blades, Virgie Catanyag-Mendoza.