Getting the most out of occupational therapy

Occupational therapy can help you to continue performing daily tasks and manage different Parkinson’s symptoms. Here, independent occupational therapist Emma Bracher, shares her tips to help you get the most out of the therapy.

What are you waiting for?

It is never too early to speak to an occupational therapist. The earlier you can learn strategies and get equipped to deal with any potential difficulties early on, the better. An occupational therapist can help put your mind at rest about any concerns you have for the future and point you in the right direction and services that you may benefit from.  

What things do you find difficult or need to remain independent for?

Perhaps list the top 3 things you need help with ahead of your first visit with your occupational therapist. For example, are you able to get out of the bath safely or is getting dressed by yourself difficult? 

Your occupational therapist will be able to work with you to find ways to make things easier and safer, and help you to maintain your independence for longer. The strategies that you learn for one task may help you for other tasks that you find a challenge.

Are there areas of your environment where you feel unsafe?

This could be in the bathroom, on the stairs or in the workplace. Your occupational therapist can look at what modifications or equipment will maximise your safety and independence.

Do you have difficulty moving about your home due to freezing or other mobility problems?

Your occupational therapist can help improve your functional mobility by teaching you various cueing techniques and strategies. They can also advise you on how changes to the layout of your home may help and refer you to a physiotherapist if you haven't already seen one.

What non-motor symptoms do you experience?

Occupational therapists can help with non-motor symptoms as well as motor symptoms. If you suffer from pain and fatigue for example, your occupational therapist can help you to plan and prioritise tasks, and help you to implement activity pacing strategies. If you experience anxiety or depression, they can help you to learn strategies to help you deal better with these.

How can I get the most out of a video or telephone assessment?

If you are having an assessment over the phone or via a video call, it will be really helpful for your occupational therapist to be able to familiarise themselves with your environment. Think about how you can share pictures of different parts of your home or workplace with them ahead of your appointment, or even make a video tour of your home using your smartphone.

How can I stay safe during a video assessment?

Having someone with you during your video appointment is important. It means your occupational therapist will be able to assess your mobility and other activities safely.

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