Occupational therapists (OTs) have a holistic and client-centered approach that considers the medical, emotional, social, psychosocial, spiritual, and environmental factors that contribute to the person’s overall health and wellness. In addition, OTs consider the barriers that restrict a person’s ability to participate in activities of daily living, occupation and/or education, and leisure activities.
OTs can proactively address barriers, provide continuity of care, and support the injured person to increase independence in activities of daily living (including home management, meal management, shopping, transportation, child care, etc.). Injured individuals return to work in a timely manner with the appropriate modifications in place, and return to their hobbies, leisure and spiritual practice activities in as safe a manner as possible.
Who can benefit from OT treatment?
Those individuals with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injury, or who have complex care needs, as well as the elderly, new Canadians, non-English speakers, and those without a strong support network would particularly benefit from this service. However, individuals with less complex needs will often benefit from relatively minimal services. Access to an OT can help an individual navigate the services available and fill the gaps when services are not available.
What services do you provide?
We provide an initial needs assessment, a report with recommendations, and follow-up as required or agreed upon. This can be instrumental to facilitate the individual accessing the appropriate Section B benefits, and/or coordinating services.
Our services can be provided in person at the client’s home or in our clinic, located in south Edmonton. We can travel anywhere within Alberta and travel outside of Alberta can be negotiated. Alternatively, we can provide many services through virtual means, if preferred or more appropriate.
When should OT services begin?
OT treatment services can begin early post-injury, often even when an individual is still in hospital. Alternatively, sometimes an individual or family is able to cope with the acute stage of illness, but once the initial supports are exhausted, they find themselves unable to move forward, or integrate what they have learned in the rehabilitation setting into their daily life and customary environment. Occupational therapy can assist the individual in this process. In the long term, continuity of service can be invaluable to someone with cognitive or emotional deficits, allowing them to be confident that someone is looking out for their interests, and will not let them “slip between the cracks”.
How are you qualified to provide OT treatment?
The therapists at WRC have extensive training and experience in both the physical and mental health fields and are able to address multiple issues and situations. Using tools and techniques such as the Progressive Goal Attainment Program, activation therapy, exposure therapy, and community integration techniques, we can assist an individual to rebuild a productive and meaningful life after an injury.
What kinds of services can you provide and how do they benefit injured individuals?
OT provides low cost, high impact solutions to many physical and mental conditions, and can often prevent problems before they occur. Some examples of OT services for injured individuals are as follows:
- Conduct an in-home assessment and recommend home modifications, assistive devices, and re-organization strategies to support the persons functional independence and safety, and to reduce the pain experience.
- Provide information and strategies for pain management, for energy conservation and fatigue management, and to address fear and anxiety.
- Support the client in reintroducing challenging activities that are meaningful (as identified together with the client) by creating routines and/or modifications with the client.
- Fill a case management role by supporting the client in connecting with other healthcare providers such as, physiotherapists, psychologists, massage therapists, as well as social service providers including driving services, cleaning services, yard care, and meal services.
- Recommend and implement workplace accommodations and modifications as needed.
Who pays for these services?
Alberta Section B benefits do allow for the provision of OT services, but they are infrequently utilized. To date, we have been usually paid directly by the referring lawyer, who then recovers their costs. When other jurisdictions are involved (e.g., British Columbia, Ontario) we can usually bill directly. We have also been successful in direct billing to the client’s Section B benefits and are working on improving our process in this regard. We can work with your insurance provider or bill directly. WRC has service contracts with VAC, CF/DND, WCB and other agencies.
Can I use WRC for occupational therapy services as well as for an expert opinion?
This is basically up to you as the referral source. We are willing to provide both services and are confident that we can offer an objective opinion even if we have been working with a client over a period of months or years prior to the expert report being commissioned. In fact, by providing OT treatment and case management, some of the items we often recommend will already have been implemented and we can state more emphatically and accurately that all necessary and reasonable measures have been taken to return the individual to their pre-injury status.
Some of the lawyers we have spoken with have indicated that our first-hand knowledge of the client’s progression post-injury is valuable and offers a more accurate picture of past needs (housekeeping, etc.) than if we had seen them for the first time several years after the injury.
I still have questions. How can I learn more?
For more detailed information about how this program can benefit you or your clients please call us at 780-758-9565. to answer your questions. Alternatively, we would be happy to provide a group information session for your office either in-person or virtually via video conference.