Occupational Therapy and Chronic Illness

Occupational therapy strives to use a holistic treatment approach to improve a person's day to day functioning. Balancing life and engaging in work, leisure and personal management by teaching new skills or adapting task or environment is a high priority for OTs. By using meaningful activities we encourage clients to live their life to their personal best. This can be done in a group setting or on an individual either on hospital or on an outpatient basis.

So what services can an Occupational Therapist offer an adult client with a chronic illness?

“As much as 90% of the management of a chronic condition must be performed, not by health care providers, but by the person who has the condition.” ‐ California Healthcare Foundation, 2008 whether it's managing your medication, putting on your own socks or remembering where you left the keys OT is the profession to help you.

Here are 10 other topics that an OT can include in your treatment:

      1)      Learning new skills:
From Social skills to learning how to knit, OTs are equipped to analyze activities and your level of functioning to assist you to learn new skills.

2)      Adaptation of task and use of assistive devices
Helping find simple and practical adaption’s to everyday tasks ie putting on your shoes

3)      Reasonable accommodations in the workplace:
Changing the setup, routine, hours or accessibility to the workplace.

4)      Stress Management and emotional expression
Learning new skills to express and manage emotions and therefore decrease stress

     5)    Splinting and wheelchairs
OTs have expert knowledge in the correct seating, positioning and use of wheelchairs.
Splinting of joints due to hypermobility or arthritis can help prevent further damage and manage pain.

6)      Training of support care worker
Training care workers or family members in the correct way to assist clients i.e. transferring clients from the bed to the wheelchair

    7)      Joint protection & pain management
Teaching techniques to use large joints to avoid pain and deterioration of smaller joints. Techniques to combat pain such as visualization.

8)      Energy conservation
Managing energy levels as to prioritize activities, teaching the practical application of the energy conservation (the spoon theory). 

9)      Support vs stigma
Using education and training to gain support from family members or co-workers and decreasing stigma

10)  Self-management and Lifestyle adaption

Developing new habits, routines, and lifestyle adaptation. 


  1. This was really informational! I didn't know that occupational therapists did so much tailored work. I feel like these kinds of skills should be taught to lots of people because some of them can apply to every day life like stress management, energy conservation and self management. It would also spread awareness so the average person can help make life easier for someone with chronic illness in their social circle.
    Great post, really liked reading it!

  2. This was really useful, i've heard of occupational therapy but never knew how much they could help with x

    Sophia xx http://sophiawhitham.co.uk


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Rituximab experience

All you need to know about shelf-life and storage of Mestinon

Exercise for Myasthenia Gravis: a necessity not a luxury