Occupational Therapy is a health care profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by enabling people to do things that will enhance their ability to participate or by modifying the environment to better support participation. World Federation of Occupational Therapists, 2004
There is currently 1 full time Senior Occupational Therapist working in Acute Stroke Care at University Hospital Limerick
We work as part of a co-ordinated multidisciplinary stroke team. The team meet weekly to discuss the progress of the stroke patients and new referrals to the team. The Occupational Therapist will screen all new patients with a diagnosis of stroke. An occupational therapy waiting list may apply due to high numbers of referrals. There is currently no outpatient service.
Following a stroke, a person may have difficultly with self-care tasks (washing, dressing, feeding), returning to work, completing home /domestic tasks or participating in leisure activities. This inability to engage fully in daily activities can be due to many different reasons depending on the type of stroke experienced, for example you may physically have problems moving / getting around due to arm /leg weakness or you may not be able to cook for yourself due to difficulties in concentrating or impaired memory.
The Occupational Therapist, will following referral, complete an assessment of a persons current level of ability and ascertain the reasons why a person is unable to participate in the activities they need or want to do. We will develop a treatment programme with the person to assist them in improving their ability to perform activities of daily living. This may involve giving the person time and opportunity to practise specific tasks (e.g. washing / dressing), teaching new or alternative ways to complete a task and /or providing equipment or assistive devices to help achieve goals (e.g. providing cutlery with a special grip /handle to allow person to feed themselves).
Some areas of intervention may include:
- Assessment for special seating to promote good posture /positioning
- Provision of splints to promote good positioning and minimise risk of contracture /deformity.
- Assessment of the impact of Visual field deficits following stroke and advice on rehabilitation /compensatory strategies.
- Assessment of the impact of cognitive problems (e.g. attention, memory) and Perceptual problems (e.g. ignoring left side of body, difficulty perceiving distance) on a persons independence. Education to person /family re: improving, adapting or compensating for these deficits.
- Assessment for assistive devices (e.g. adapted cutlery, long handled sponge)
The Occupational Therapist has close links with the Occupational Therapy teams in the local rehabilitation centres and in the community.
Referrals are currently only accepted for in-patients with a new diagnosis of stroke.
The department's core opening hours are 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.00pm on Friday.
The Occupational Therapist is located in the Stroke Therapy Department on the ground floor of University Hospital Limerick.