Occupational therapists are qualified health professionals who work with people of all ages and abilities to do the things they need and want to in all aspects of life, such as taking care of oneself and others, working, volunteering, and participating in hobbies, interests and social events.  Occupational therapists call these things “occupations”.

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the occupations of everyday life.

Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession that involves ongoing assessments to understand what occupations are important to you, any current issues you may have in doing them, and understanding your goals.  Occupational therapists will then work on any or all of the following to ensure you can participate in the occupations you need and want to do - enhancing your own personal life skills, adjusting the environment you do your occupations in, and adjusting the occupation itself.

Occupational therapists also help people to manage and live with long-term (chronic) health conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. Occupational therapists are experts in the relationships between what people do and their health and well-being, and work with people to help make every day living easier.

Occupational therapists assist people to manage ongoing symptoms and prevent complications by:

  • building their knowledge and skills
  • finding new ways of doing activities
  • changing the environment to suit their needs

Occupational therapists can also prescribe, if necessary, devices and therapy equipment to help you do the activities you want and need to do. They will make sure you can use the device in the best way to meet your needs. This means that you will get a total solution and not just a product.

How can I find an occupational therapist?

  • To find out how an occupational therapist can help you, and to obtain a referral under Medicare speak to your GP.
  • To find a private practice OT click here
  • To find an OT in your local area via the National Health Services Directory visit: about.healthdirect.gov.au/nhsd
  • Occupational therapists may utilise 'My Health Record' when providing services. For more information on this service visit www.myhealthrecord.gov.au

Why is it called ‘Occupational’ Therapy?

"In occupational therapy, occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need to, want to and are expected to do." (WFOT – World Federation of Occupational Therapists)