You may benefit from occupational therapy (OT) following a car accident, even if it is not initially included as a part of your treatment plan. All injured claimants are eligible to receive OT services under Part 7 Benefits. Ask your doctor about OT as they can provide you with a referral to pass onto your ICBC adjuster. The earlier you start occupational therapy, the more likely you are to successfully return to the activities that are important to you.
How do I know if occupational therapy would help me?
OT focuses on what its clients can and want to do. Questions to ask yourself include “Can I do everything I did before my accident?” and “Am I succeeding at work right now?”. If your answer is no to either question, OT might be right for you.
Here are some examples of how occupational therapy helps:
- Coordinating a smooth, safe discharge from hospital
- Reviewing equipment and strategies to improve walking and home safety
- Improving pain management
- Facilitating better memory for daily tasks
- Promoting better sleep, more energy and lighter mood
- Decreasing driving (or other) anxiety
- Providing education and empowerment while connecting you to other health resources and services you may need
- Getting back to dressing, bathing, cooking and cleaning (taking care of yourself or your loved ones), as well as getting into the community again
- Finding ways to safely get back to your work, as comfortably as possible
- Helping you return to your meaningful leisure activities
What should I expect from my occupational therapist?
OTs are university educated healthcare providers and are required to be licensed to practice in BC. You can expect them to:
- Provide objective and medically supported assessments and treatments
- Address your physical, emotional, and cognitive needs
- Use interventions to get back to life
- Focus on activities of daily living (ADLs) including personal care, productivity (at work or school) and leisure
What is the home assessment like?
The assessment begins with a clear understanding of your medical status, prior to meeting you. The OT then meets with you in your home for your comfort and privacy and to understand your specific, individual needs. The OT will do the following, during a 2-hour visit:
- Introductions, answering any questions you might have about OT or the recovery process, and ICBC’s involvement in that process
- A thorough interview to understand your symptoms, concerns, abilities and goals
- Use standardized tools to assess physical, cognitive or emotional impairments
- Observe you doing tasks around the home to ensure safety and/or explore ways to make them easier on your body
- Review the physical safety of your home
- Review treatment options with you
The OT has your safety and comfort in mind at all times; you can ask for breaks or stop the assessment and continue at another day or time at any point.
Read more about what OT can do for you and your ICBC claim – CAOT-BC Briefing Note (May 2018)
OT Works! is excited to welcome Melissa Ferguson to the team! She works with a diverse range of clients, including those recovering from motor vehicle accidents, to help improve function and support their return-to-work.
Melissa has extensive experience helping clients with activities through adaptive recreation and education. Her approach is objective and client focused, building on her client’s strength and resiliency. She is skilled at helping clients with chronic pain, mental health (anxiety and depression) and concussions/traumatic brain injuries.
Melissa is a full registrant and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).
Occupational therapists (OTs) support you during your transition back into the worker role after an injury or accident. OTs facilitate realistic and proactive return to work planning that considers all of the factors that impact success. Our OTs partner with you to develop plans that enable you to re-build your specific work skills, and the confidence needed for long-term success.
Location of Services:
Our OTs meet you at your home and workplace to develop a return-to-work plan and to facilitate your progress.
Examples of Services:
- Job Site Visit
- Job Demands Analysis
- Assistive Technology
- Ergonomic Assessments
- Assessing Function in relation to Work Demands
- Gradual Return-to-Work (GRTW) Planning
- Gradual Return-to-Work (GRTW) Monitoring
- Vocational Assessment
How can OT help me return to work?
- Assess return to work readiness
- Provide education, strategies and coping tools
- Facilitate symptom management
- Prescribe and organize appropriate assistive and ergonomic equipment
- Develop personalized plans with attainable goals
- Advocate for return to work options with your employer
- Provide on- and off-site coaching
Who can refer me?
There are many professionals who can refer you to RTW Occupational Therapy. These include:
- Medical providers, such as your GP, physiotherapist, psychologist, etc.
- Public services, such as WorkSafe BC, ICBC, health authorities and hospitals.
- Other professionals involved in your recovery, such as your insurance specialists, adjuster or lawyer.
OT services are typically funded by WorkSafe BC, ICBC, your extended health insurance coverage, health authorities or legal settlements. You or your family can also pay for your treatment privately.
Why OT Works?
We have assisted clients as they returned to work and other meaningful activities since 2001. At OT Works!, treatment is client-centred. Every assessment and intervention is individualized so that your goals are in mind. While our knowledge is extensive, we have a particular focus on cognitive challenges (mental health and concussions) and ergonomics. Regardless of the nature of your challenges, we will partner with you to develop a plan built for your success. We help you return to work so that you can stay at work.