In the current era of cost awareness and the pressure to free hospital beds as rapidly as possible, coupled with the move towards community care, there is increasing emphasis on returning and main taining disabled people in the community. Often, many health and welfare workers are involved in this process. Occupational therapists however have a particular role to play. Their training is such that they are able to assess and treat the physical, psychological and social aspects of a disabling condition. This enables them to help disabled people to achieve their maximum ability in the environment in which they live. Whether the occupational therapist is hospital or community based, employed by the health or social service depart ment, her caseload is often vast. The occupational therapist may specialize in a particular age group or disability, but it is more likely that she will have to work with a wide age range from the very young to the very old. Assessment of needs and the subsequent provision of equipment and adaptations is the greater part of the OT's job. Other aspects include counselling the disabled person and his family and planning future intervention must often, however reluctantly, be given a low priority. In spite of staff shotages occupa tional therapists are frequently called on to provide the client and other groups of workers with advice and information on all aspects of living with any disability.
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