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What are the benefits of Occupational Therapy after a Personal Injury?

The benefits of physiotherapy treatment and other types of treatment following a personal injury are a given and no one would dispute the benefits. However often whilst the focus is on treating the injured, sometimes the individual’s independence can be overlooked.

Most of us take daily routines for granted such as having a bath/shower, climbing a set of stairs, opening doors etc. Sometimes as a result of an personal injury a person’s daily routine can be thrown upside down.

Occupational Health and the Rehabilitation code

Under the Rehabilitation Code 2015 it is important for Claimant and Defendant Solicitors to work together to assess what rehabilitation would benefit the injured party.

Occupational Therapy could be key in assessing where the injured person needs help around the home for example to improve their quality of life. An Occupational Therapist could help to look at tasks such as self-care, household chores as well as community management such as crossing roads and going shopping or using public transport which posed no issue prior to a personal injury.

An Occupational Therapist will carry out an assessment of the life of the individual before the accident and the difficulties and restrictions they now face. Short term and long term goals can be set so the individual can try and continue with a home and work/school life.

Occupational therapists can work alongside the family and other healthcare providers such as physiotherapists and solicitors in personal injury cases to ensure that these elements are not forgotten.

What examples are there of home adaptations which an OT can suggest?

These include:

  • Stair lifts
  • Access ramps to the home
  • Changes to the bath or shower to enable better access
  • Widening doorways for wheelchair use

I have represented countless clients who have been involved in an accident resulting in personal injury where Occupational Therapy has benefited them immensely. It is important that this is not overlooked as a form of treatment by practitioners and legal advisors. What may seem like a simple adaptation to the home or specialised equipment could make a huge difference.