What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy aims to help people who have difficulty with their everyday work, home or leisure activities because of illness or disability. Some occupational therapists (OTs) have specialist knowledge in dealing with problems caused by arthritis and related conditions, and they’ll work with you to find solutions to these difficulties, allowing you to carry on independently with your daily activities.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy can help you manage your arthritis in a number of ways:

  • advice on using your joints without straining them
  • splints to support your joints while working or resting
  • recommendations on gadgets and equipment to help you with your comfort in your home and at work
  • exercises to improve hand and wrist movements and grip
  • advice on planning and balancing daily activities with rest to reduce tiredness (fatigue)
  • help and advice on driving and mobility problems
  • relaxation techniques
  • help and advice on coping physically and emotionally with the changes your condition may bring.

Occupational therapists may work within the NHS, Social Services departments, charities or in private practice. Your GP, consultant or specialist nurse may refer you to an occupational therapist, or you can ask to see someone if you feel it would be helpful. In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist hand therapist who’ll be able to offer similar help and advice.

Occupational Therapy Services at Royal Cornwall Hospital

For information on occupational therapy services at RCHT go to https://www.royalcornwall.nhs.uk/services/therapies/occupational-therapy/

The Rheumatology Department has a specialist occupational therapist. She can help with:

  • Fatigue management
  • Joint protection
  • Hand therapy
  • Splinting
  • And other aspects such as employment and well-being

Help managing at home

If you’re having trouble managing at home Cornwall Council can arrange to have an occupational therapist come to your home. The Occupational Therapy staff visit you at home, assess your needs and work with you (and your family) to find a solution. Often advice or minor adaptations and equipment such as grab rails or a bath seat can be enough to help you get back to managing independently and can be fitted very quickly. Occupational Therapy staff will talk with you about all options, including moving to a more appropriate property.

Sometimes larger adaptations are needed like a ramp or stair-lift and they will recommend what will best suit your situation. These solutions may take longer to arrange or your needs may be better met by moving home.

The Council offers a range of support to help you find a solution that’s best for you. To find out more, visit their Health and Social Care pages

The Adult Care and Support team can also be contacted on 0300 1234 131.