Help from occupational therapists

What is occupational therapy? 

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages, whose difficulties may have been present since birth or the result of an accident, illness, ageing or lifestyle. They can help you with all aspects of your daily life.

Occupational therapists can carry out an assessment of what you can and can't do in your everyday activities. They will create individual treatment programmes to help people carry out their daily tasks and with more confidence and independence. They may suggest changes to your environment, whether that be at home or at work, and may introduce the use of equipment which will help with some activities.

Occupational therapists review the treatments periodically, evaluate progress and make changes to the treatment as needed.

How do I access occupational therapy? 

You can get a referral for free occupational therapy through your GP surgery,  your local Adult Social Care department or local integrated care board, or you can go private. 

The duration and severity of your condition determines whether you can access care through your local authority or the NHS. In general:

  • for short-term conditions, such as after an operation, occupational therapy is usually accessed through the NHS
  • for long-term conditions, such as a permanent physical disability, occupational therapy is usually accessed through the council.

Private occupational therapy

You may wish to use the services of an independent occupational therapist who is in private practice. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) website has a specialist section for occupational therapists working in independent (private) practice. Alternatively, call 020 3141 4630.

All occupational therapists who are members of COT Specialist Section Independent Practice are fully qualified and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Finding equipment for yourself

If you would like to source equipment for yourself which could help you manage everyday tasks, see our Equipment page.