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Who Can Access Occupational Therapy
Our Occupational Therapists (OTs) help people obtain assistive equipment, home modifications and also to improve their functional capacity with therapy.
We support clients under the following funding schemes:
- Home care package program
- Commonwealth home support program
- Short Term Restorative Care
- Life time care and support
- Private paying individuals
We provide mobile services across the Central Coast, Newcastle, Hunter and Port Stephens.
Mobile Occupational Therapy Service
What Our Occupational Therapists Do
Our Occupational Therapists are mobile, meaning they visit clients at their home.
Our Occupational Therapy team are highly skilled at:
- Equipment and assistive technology prescription
- Home modifications (both major and minor)
- Skill building and therapy
We are NDIS registered which means that our Occupational Therapists are able to support NDIS participants that are self-managing, plan managing or agency managing their NDIS plan.
We also partner with approved aged care providers, including home care package, commonwealth home support programme, short term restorative care and residential aged care providers.
University Trained, Professional Occupational Therapists
All of Community Therapy’s Occupational Therapists are AHPRA registered and are required to complete 30 hours a year of mandatory professional development to maintain their registration.
Staff also undertake NDIS specific courses on home modifications, prescribing equipment and completing AT request forms for the NDIS.
Community Therapy also hosts in house OT training sessions that are prepared by our clinicians or external presenters each week.
Occupational Therapy FAQ
How many times will the Occupational Therapist visit?
The amount and frequency of visits by the Occupational Therapist can vary dramatically depending on what is required (i.e. trial period length) by the person.
This information will be determined during the first visit and formalisation of the service agreement.
Additionally, the frequency can change in the future, either at the discretion of the person or therapist.
Any changes to a service agreement are communicated to all parties to ensure everyone is aware of why a change is required.
Do I need a referral to book OT services under the NDIS?
You do not need a referral from a GP or a specialist. You can engage with Community Therapy directly to receive funding for our services under the NDIS.
You will need an active NDIS plan with funding allocated under Improved Daily Living.
In what ways do OTs help with falls prevention?
Occupational Therapy is very important for falls prevention. Occupational Therapists assess the suitability and safety of the environment and make recommendations for changes when needed. With regard to falls, the assessment process will give consideration to aspects such as:
- Accessibility of external entrances
- The presence of stairs and the potential need for handrails or ramps
- The condition of the flooring
- The adequacy of existing lighting
Most falls in the home occur either while moving from one room to the other or when in the bedroom, bathroom, laundry or kitchen, so particular attention is paid to these areas.
Can you prescribe communication equipment? (i.e. camera systems, intercom, hearing devices)
Our Occupational Therapists can identify and prescribe communications equipment. An initial assessment would include consideration of any communication challenges that may be impacting someone. This would be followed by a discussion of potential solutions that can be trialled in order to resolve the issue.
The role of communication equipment can be useful in many different situations. For example, someone who is having difficulty with speech due to a neurological condition may benefit from text-to-voice technology in order to make speaking with clinicians, family and friends easier.
Conversely, someone who is dealing with significant fatigue may experience typing to be more taxing than speaking and so a voice-to-text solution can be implemented to help make work, study or social communication less challenging.
There can be an emotional component, such as someone who is deaf and fearful in their home. Can an OT help?
Living with a disability, or with any medical condition, can dramatically affect a person’s mental health. Assessments conducted by our Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists will include several steps with respect to mental health.
This will often start with simply listening to the person’s story in their own words; this helps our clinicians gain insight into how their situation is affecting them. It will also include assessments that give quantifiable results in order to determine change over time or change based on particular interventions.
Mental health is an important consideration throughout all of our processes and can certainly impact our clinical recommendations.
How does Community Therapy maintain awareness of the ranges of equipment available?
Industry innovation is constant within the range of equipment and supports available. At Community Therapy, we remain current with industry advancements to ensure that we can always offer the best available option to our clients. We do this in several ways:
- As part of our organisational structure, we engage a dedicated Occupational Therapy Clinical Manager whose role involves investigating new and innovative equipment options and reporting these to our team
- Our Occupational Therapists attend regular education sessions each year with equipment suppliers to ensure their knowledge is up to date
- We attend industry conferences to discover new pieces of equipment as they come on to the market.
Can you give an example of helping someone with their daily planning?
Life skills are important for everyone, and especially those dealing with additional challenges. The role of an Occupational Therapist includes putting in place strategies that will assist with planning and managing daily or weekly tasks.
In some cases this may be simplifying scheduling processes for medical appointments or social arrangements, or it may be identifying the need for additional support on challenges such as household budgeting.
Do you attend a client’s workplace and provide services there?
Yes. With the consent of both the workplace and the client, Community Therapy can visit workplaces for additional assessments. Our Occupational Therapists can assist with ensuring that the work environment and equipment is appropriate and safe for the person to function at work.
A Physiotherapist may also attend in order to assess fundamental ergonomics and to factor in any necessary elements for their regular exercise or movement plans.
Our Process – Step 1 – First Contact
The first stage of the process is understanding a person’s current situation and how our OTs can assist. Commonly we are contacted regarding equipment or home modifications, in this event, it would be helpful to have the following information available:
- Budget – NDIS, Home Care package, private budget
- Equipment and/or modifications the person already owns or hires
- Equipment and/or modifications the person is looking to obtain
As well as the person’s general medical history:
- Current medications
- Current medical professional engagements
Our Process – Step 2 – Initial Assessment
During the first visit, our Occupational Therapist and the client or their representative (or with the assistance of their representative) will review their current situation and any funding plan (such as their NDIS plan). The overall purpose of the first session is to identify goals our OT can help the person with.
Our OTs specifically address:
- Equipment requirements
- Assessments, equipment trials & reports required for to complete Assistive Technology Requests
- Scope of works, plans and quotes required for home modifications
For our NDIS participants, the initial assessment then allows us to formalise a service agreement which the person and/or their representative are happy with.
Our Process – Step 3 – Services
Community Therapy’s OTs primarily assist with prescribing, trialing, ordering assistive technology or equipment, as well as assessing and managing home modifications.
Our Occupational Therapists also perform ongoing therapy, which is commonly functional retraining, rehabilitation and or improvement of functional life skills. For example:
- Upper limb retraining. This is to help people have better function with their upper limbs when engaging in everyday activities.
- Assisting with setting and running task lists and financial budgets
- Assisting with planning and accessing the community
- Assisting with planning and participating in activities of daily living
Our services take a holistic, person centred approach and we aim to improve both the physical and emotional health of the person.
Our Process – Step 4 – Ongoing Services
Our ongoing OT services will be determined by what has been originally stipulated in the service agreement.
Occasionally the service engagement may only be for the assessment and trialing of one piece of equipment only and there may be no ongoing services required from Community Therapy once the Assistive Technology Request has been completed.
More commonly however, our OTs will provide training on set up and use of any equipment prescribed and review of any modifications that have been installed.
If services are to cease with us, such as in the event the person moves to another service provider, we provide the person with all of the information and reports that have been completed by our OTs to date. This will help the person to apply for future funding or engage other therapists in an efficient manner.
Do your OTs help people living with Mental Health considerations?
Yes, please navigate to our Occupational Therapy for Mental Health page to learn more.