Ahead of World Occupational Therapy Day 2017, Lisa Ledger, Head of Occupational Therapy at the University of Derby, discusses why the profession is so important and why the day should be globally celebrated.
What is World Occupational Therapy Day and when is it?
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) is the international voice of the profession and globally comprises of 92 national occupational therapy professional organisations. On October 27, occupational therapists across the globe come together to celebrate World Occupational Therapy Day with a wealth of events taking place throughout October.
World Occupational Therapy Day is a fantastic opportunity to increase the visibility and awareness of the occupational therapy profession. Occupational therapy internationally is all about helping people to do the things they want and need to do in life to achieve health and wellbeing.
Within the UK, people often think that occupational therapists only work in the NHS looking at things such as facilitating hospital discharge or providing equipment. While these are really valuable areas of occupational therapy, there are many other alternate areas people know little about both nationally and internationally. For example, many occupational therapists are involved in rewarding careers such as supporting people to pursue meaningful employment or enjoyable leisure pursuits after having had a mental health problem, accident or injury.
What is happening on World Occupational Therapy Day 2017?
As part of World Occupational Therapy Day 2017, there is a Virtual Exchange that involves an eight-hour interactive online conference with invited speakers to discuss and share existing and emerging areas of occupational therapy practice. Sharing ideas across countries and cultures provides inspiration and education that accessible to all by making use of virtual technology.
How are occupational therapists across the globe helping the ageing population?
The theme for this year’s World Occupational therapy Day is ‘Inform, Inspire, Influence.’ One way the profession is doing this is through emerging roles in health promotion, for example, through helping people consider issues such as active ageing.
Globally, the population of many countries is ageing at a significant rate, with concerns that if people don’t age healthily there will be insufficient health and social care provision in the future to meet people’s needs.
Occupational Therapists can really help meet this concern through health promotion programmes that focus on older adults maintaining a balance of daily activities, roles and routines that are important to them as individuals, so that they can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement and later life. With the focus on maintaining health and well-being through these meaningful occupations, people are more likely to stay physically and mentally well and require less health and social care in the longer term.
Occupational therapy is an exciting national and international profession and there is certainly plenty to inspire us all this World Occupational Therapy Day.