A Q&A with Susan Gerber on Occupational Therapy and Professional Organizing. Learn what Occupational Therapy is, common issues in the home and recommendations from a professional.
- What is Occupation Therapy? Occupational therapy uses activity to enable increased participation and engagement ineveryday living. Occupational therapists are regulated healthcare professionals who help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want to do, need to do , or have to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Occupation is much more than a career or job; it refers to everything that people do during the course of their everyday life. Each of us have many occupations that are important to our health and well-being. OTs take a holistic perspective considering physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of disability on someone’s life. Using an approach based on evidence and best practice, OTs work with people to develop client-centred goals to enable increased participation in self-care, work, and leisure.
- How can Occupational Therapists and Professional Organizers work together? OTs and Professional Organizers could have very complementary roles in working together. For example, following an assessment of an individual in their environment, OTs could work collaboratively with a Professional Organizer to assist an individual with making changes to their environment which will better meet their functional needs and enable increased participation.
What are common issues related to a person’s space that you come across frequently? Some common issues that people face in their home living space include poor lighting, clutter and disorganization leading to difficulty finding things, difficulty accessing high and low places, mobility barriers in the home (stairs), safety concerns such as tripping hazards which can lead to falls and risk of further injury and/or impairment, and lack of easily accessible storage space.
- How are Occupational Therapists hired? What are the costs? You do not require a doctor’s referral to access an OT. Community OTs can be accessed through Community Care Access Centre’s (CCAC) in the public health care system and through direct referral in the private, fee for service area. The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists’ website can assist to find an OT. Private costs can range between $90 to $130.00/hour.
- What do you suggest most people set up in their home? For people with memory problems, I often suggestsetting up what I call a “home port”. This is a place where they can keep frequently used or misplaced items such as keys, wallets, eyeglasses, cell phones etc.
Susan Gerber serves Hamilton, Halton and Brant, Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington. Here is what she writes about her own career:
I am a Regulated Health Professional who has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 1984. My experience includes providing rehabilitation to individuals in community and hospital settings for a variety of impairments, including brain injury, orthopedic, chronic pain, and emotional disorders.
This experience has included work assessment and vocational exploration for individuals with disabling conditions. I have assessed and provided intervention to achieve improved function for adult and geriatric aged clients in the home and community. As well I have facilitated and coordinated community-based rehabilitation services for all ages including discharge support services enabling a seamless transition from hospital to home and re-integration into home, school, work, and community activities.
The team approach at Rehabilitation Management Inc (RMI) ensures the availability of supports and quality services; I have been employed with RMI for over 18 years. I provide Occupational Therapy intervention, case management services, and employment counseling for individuals who have sustained a traumatic and/or catastrophic injury.
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