October 27th is World OT Day

October 27th is World Occupational Therapy Day! 

OTs make a difference in the lives of many today, here in Canada and around the world.
Occupational Therapists help people improve their function in their daily lives.  Occupational therapy is a type of health care that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them – everyday things like:

  • Self-care – getting dressed, eating, moving around the house,
  • Being productive – going to work or school, participating in the community, and
  • Leisure activities – sports, gardening, social activities. 

Occupational therapy is a regulated profession in Canada.  All of our occupational therapists at OT Works! are registered with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) 

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At OT Works, this month we celebrate our team and the difference OTs make to their clients!


World Occupational Therapy Day – October 27th – Reimagine Doing

The theme ‘Reimagine Doing’ celebrates the expertise of occupational therapy for reimagining participation in occupations that provide value and meaning to everyday life

OTs help their clients in a number of different ways including Driving Desensitization, Ergonomic Assessments, Life Skills for Anxiety, Falls Prevention and even Return to Work Planning.

OTs can help you getting back to work, to school, to the sport that you love, and more.

To our OT Works! team and to all OTs we say thank you!

Contact us and get started with an OT today. #worldotday

Find out more:

Pamela Russell featured on The Jeneralist Podcast

We’re proud to announce that our Clinical Lead Pamela Russell was featured on ‘The Jeneralist’ Podcast by Jen Taubensee.

The Jeneralist explores and shares Canadian Occupational Therapists perspectives. On this episode, Pamela and Jen talk about being a leader, connecting as a team and coping and healing through stories.

We’d also like to thank Jen Taubensee for this amazing opportunity!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or use the link: https://thejeneralist.podbean.com/e/s2-e3-pamela/

text: COVID-19 Occupational Therapists: Essential to Mental Health, image: lighthouse with water spilling over the guardrails

Occupational Therapists are Essential to Mental Health

OT interventions such as activation and exposure therapy, as well as daily routine implementation, are instrumental in getting clients back to work and life while managing mental health concerns.

Especially during COVID-19, and afterwards, caring for our own mental and emotional well-being is necessary to foster healthy, supportive communities.

A lack of funding for occupational therapy means that many Canadians aren’t getting the services that they need. Click here to learn how you can advocate for improved access to occupational therapy services!

Message from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)

“It’s time to recognize OTs as mental health providers!

“Now more than ever, we need “all hands-on deck” to help Canadians with the mental health care they need following the unprecedented disruption that COVID-19 has wreaked on everyday lives. The Mental Health Commission refers to an ‘echo pandemic’ of mental health impacts in the wake of COVID-19 – a critical societal issue for which OTs are an essential part of the solution.

“Unfortunately, most Canadians cannot access occupational therapy services as occupational therapy is not covered under most public and private health care plans.

“Critical decisions are being made by employers, insurance companies, and unions to increase access and coverage for mental health services following the impact of COVID-19. OTs must take action now, to inform decision makers that OTs should be recognized as mental health providers and included in public and private health care plans.

“Visit www.caot.ca/mentalhealthOT to find sharable case studies and a template letter you can send to your insurance provider, union, MP and MPP.”

Image: Courtesy of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

4 volunteers with varying ethnicities

Respect, Inclusion and Equality

OT Works! is an organization committed to respect, inclusion, and equality.  We stand against the legacy of systemic bias, racism and unequal treatment that continues to plague our communities. We acknowledge the history and current challenges that Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities have in Canada and elsewhere.

As occupational therapists, we recognize that cultural, economic, and racial justice factors influence how our clients experience life and impact their health.  Our clients’ and customers’ safety and dignity are important to us. 

We are committed to delivering care that is client centred.  Our clinical practices and business operations are based on a set of core values, the center of which is Respect.  As OTs, we are guided by a Code of Ethics that  states the expectation that occupational therapists uphold clients’ rights to be treated with respect and dignity within a safe and nonjudgmental environment.  The Code of Ethics also values peoples’ right to self-determination and occupational therapists’ responsibility to acknowledge diversity and uphold the principle of equity.

We support the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists position on “No silence in the face of inequality and injustice”.

We are listening carefully right now. We hear what is being said, and we are here to learn and support when we can. It is where we must start. But it is also not enough.

We have a responsibility and an opportunity to do more than just listen and learn. We also have to find ways to apply those lessons. And we have to be part of creating meaningful action.

In the coming months we’ll be doing more work to determine the most appropriate ways for OT Works! to take action – including developing the framework of a policy and training that will move us beyond the values of respect and inclusion and into a space where we are actively engaged in creating a more equitable and fair society.

In the meantime we commit to continuing to listen and grow as we engage in a variety of learning opportunities. We will do this both as individuals and collectively–looking at the roles we can each play in creating necessary and vital changes.

Combatting Inequality and Racism

Improving cultural respect and acceptance in healthcare settings is essential to inclusion and diversity.

We want all our clients and customers to feel safe and feel heard.  If you or someone you know experiences disrespect or discrimination while interacting with one of our team members, please let us know.

Image Credits: Raw Pixel Ltd. (license)

Alone Together Run: Supporting Global Communities During COVID-19

Team members at OT Works!, and their families, participated in the Alone Together Run to stay active and raise funds for at-risk communities in Ethiopia. 

Run For Water and Food For The Hungry Canada have partnered to promote a virtual race. The annual Run for Water has been postponed due to the public health situation and COVID-19 in British Columbia.  Instead, they encourage BC residents to go for a run on their own.

The Alone Together Run is raising funds to help communities in Ethiopia manage the pandemic.  COVID-19 may be more dangerous in Ethiopia due to higher levels of poverty and limited access to healthy nutrition, clean water, sanitation services, and education.

OT Works! raised $514.72 for the cause.  All donations to the Alone Together Run were matched by Run for Water’s sponsors for an overall impact of $1,029.44.

We look forward to participating in the next Run for Water race at Mill Lake Park.

Louise Chiasson captures the beautiful Vancouver skyline during her run
Pamela and Jason Russell caught on camera by their son, Stuart.

OT Works! Phase 2 Restart Plan

The health and well-being of our therapists, staff and clients is our top priority.  Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, OT Works! has taken precautionary steps to reduce the risk associated with transmission and infection.  As BC begins its Phase 2 Restart Plan, OT Works! has developed a series of steps that we will take together.  We strive to protect the people in our networks and are committed to resuming operations with thoughtful consideration given towards everyone involved.

Policy, Procedures and Training

OT Works! has developed specific Covid-19 policies and procedures to keep clients, therapists and staff safe.  We have provided training on our Safety Plan to all our therapists and staff.  We regularly monitor developments and guidance from the Public Health Officer of BC, BC Center for Disease Control, the Government of Canada, WorkSafeBC, regional health authorities and the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  We review all guidance and update policies and procedures accordingly.  

Remote Working for Operations

Remote working is the default mode of business for non-clinical operations.  Our office remains closed for staff at this time.  Our collaboration takes place online and by phone. 

Service Delivery: In-Person and Telehealth

We continue to deliver services by telehealth during BC’s Phase 2 Restart Plan.  Our telehealth platform is private and secure.  Telehealth remains our preferred method of service delivery when the services can be delivered safely and effectively.

In-person services can proceed for clients whose anticipated clinical benefits outweigh the risks, and only after completing a COVID-19 Point of Care Risk Assessment.

Our therapists will assess themselves daily for symptoms of the common cold, influenza or COVID-19 before delivering any in-person services.  They will not conduct in-person services if they are ill, have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days or if they are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.

In-Person Services

Our therapists will limit the number of in-person visits following the recommendation of COTBC to 40-50% pre-pandemic caseloads.  All clients considering in-person services will complete a Point of Care Risk Assessment with their OT before the session proceeds and at the start of their in-person session.  Upon completion of the screen, the OT may adapt the session plan to maintain the health and safety of both the client and therapist if necessary.

Our therapists will provide clear communication outlining expectations such as requesting clients wash their hands and limiting the number of people in their home/environment prior to the occupational therapist’s arrival.  Our therapists will also wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for every in-person client visit and will conduct hand hygiene before and after the client encounter.

Clients are invited to wear masks if they have them and prefer to, but they are not obliged to do so.  Whenever possible, the therapist will maintain 2 meters (6 feet) between themselves, the clients, and anyone else in attendance (e.g. family member or employer).

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Therapists are required to wear face masks for the entire duration of any in-person visit and will follow procedures to safely manage and care for PPE.  Training has been provided on the proper use, management and care of PPE.

Hand Hygiene

Therapists will perform proper hand hygiene when interacting with clients.  Training has been provided on hand hygiene protocols with specific attention given our operations in the community.

Working with Support Workers

The Occupational Therapist will confirm that remote support worker sessions are necessary by determining feasibility, therapeutic value, the activities involved and the feepayer’s support before proceeding.  Any support workers providing urgent in-person services must follow the same safety protocols as all our occupational therapists.

Self-Isolation and Quarantine

All therapists, consultants and employees must self-isolate, follow guidelines from the Center for Disease control and contact 8-1-1 if they travel internationally or develop symptoms associated with COVID-19.  Therapists with new or a worsening cough will not work in-person with any clients, client representatives, fellow providers, fee payers, employers or OT Works! employees for at least 5 days after their onset of symptoms OR until symptom resolution, whichever is sooner.

Compliance

OT Works! has policies and procedures in place to monitor the effectiveness of our Safety Plan.

Questions or Concerns

If you have questions or concerns about our Safety Plan or the actions of our occupational therapists, please contact us.  You may also request a copy of our detailed Safety plan via email.

E-mail: risk@ot-works.com.

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Every day, 60 people in British Columbia experience a brain injury.  Acquired brain injuries (ABIs) can greatly affect people’s lives.  They can alter thinking, sensations (including touch, taste, light, sound and smell), language and emotions as well as mobility and physical health.

British Columbia recognizes June as Brain Injury Awareness Month.  You can access a list of Brain Injury Associations in the province here.

Occupational Therapy and Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Occupational therapists are equipped to positively transform the cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing of clients who have experienced concussions and other brain injuries.  At OT Works! we strive to keep up-to-date with current and emerging research and clinical evidence surrounding acquired brain injuries.  Many of our clients with ABIs have returned to the activities that bring them joy through collaboration with our occupational therapists.

For more information on our brain injury services at OT Works!, please visit the links below.

Thriving Despite Occupational Disruption: How OT Helps During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has launched the world into a major transition.  Everything we do, and how we do it, has changed. This is a period of occupational disruption and occupational therapists can help.  This is what we do.  

Occupational Therapy  

OTs understand that occupational disruption can be overwhelming, confusing and exhausting. It is normal to feel anger, denial and sadness. But the practical, client-centred approach to OT helps people get a sense of normalcy, routine and well-being; we help people create a new, healthy normal. 

OT Works! Approach 

We continue to provide quality care to our clients and know its importance while facing occupational disruption during COVID-19. Especially for those who were getting clinic-based services and find themselves without, or with very little, care.  

We embrace innovation. We have adapted the way we give care so that it continues to be meaningful and helpful, despite social restrictions.  We have: 

  • Tailored our services to optimize video, phone and text communications (via telehealth and online care) 
  • Created new, cost-effective, flexible ways to deliver services that weren’t possible in person 
  • Developed protocols to safely provide in-person care for urgent situations 
  • Enabled creative collaboration for our therapists, so clients are served best 

We protect your privacy and security. We are using Microsoft Teams for video sessions, which is a secure and private platform approved for telehealth use by the College of Occupational Therapists in BC (COTBC) and funders including WorkSafe BC and ICBC.     

Tips to Manage Better 

Loneliness and inactivity contribute to illness.  Our OTs help clients stay connected and maintain a balance of productivity and rest.  Here are some tips that our OTs have for you! 

  • Establish a daily and weekly routine.  Having set routines allows us to establish a sense of control over our own lives and even more so during transitions. 
  • Stay connected.  Reach out to friends and access resources and healthcare professionals when you need them. 
  • Practise good sleep hygiene.  A proper sleep schedule encourages increased energy and endurance during the day.  Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule and avoid light or other stimulating substances (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, nicotine) before going to bed. 
  • Explore new hobbies and practise existing skills.  Learning a new skill or hobby is a great way to defeat boredom and motivate yourself further. 
  • Be kind to yourself.  Practise self-care.  Reward yourself for completing tasks and achieving goals.  Take a break when you need to.  When feelings intensify, breathe deeply and give yourself some self-compassion.   

These healthy strategies help us manage the current situation, as well as when the pandemic has passed, and during any other difficult transitions we face. 

Lives are changing but you can recover from this occupational disruption.  Our OTs are here when you need us.      

Contact Us 

All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety and chronic pain. 

If you or someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy during this coronavirus outbreak, contact us today!  We are happy to answer any questions you may have. 

E-mail: info@ot-works.com 

Phone: 604.696.1066 ext 1000  

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Image credits: Richard Eriksson (license)

Mental Health Week 2020: #GetReal

OT Works! is proud to acknowledge Mental Health Week. We would like to #GetReal and celebrate the efforts of all the healthcare professionals and people who are providing support during this COVID-19 period of occupational disruption.

Our occupational therapists provide clients with recommendations to manage their mental health and thrive. They can help you do what you need and want to do while working with current physical distancing measures in place in British Columbia.

Together, we can get through this period of occupational disruption, encourage healthy coping strategies, and end the stigma around mental health.

Learn More

Canadian Mental Health Association

Facts – CMHA Mental Health Week

Key Messages – CMHA Mental Health Week

World Health Day: Take a minute to say thank you to nurses and midwives

World Health Day: Thank You Nurses and Midwives

April 7, 2020 is World Health Day.  OT Works! is proud to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives in British Columbia and around the world. 

Nurses and midwives are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. They provide high quality, respectful treatment and care.  We are grateful for their effort in keeping the world healthy and will continue to support their work in our own roles as allied healthcare providers.

For more information, visit World Health Day 2020.