RCOT Relieving the pressure on social care: the value of occupational therapy report imageExploring the different ways that occupational therapists can help individuals live more fulfilling lives, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has announced a new report which outlines why occupational therapists have such an essential role in social care.

It is part of RCOT’s Improving Lives Saving Money series, which looks at how occupational therapists (OTs) provide life-changing support to people, regardless of their age or stage of life.

Entitled ‘Relieving the pressure on social care: the value of occupational therapy’, the College’s latest report underlines how OTs can relieve pressure on the social care system and highlights that despite making up just four percent of the regulated workforce, OTs address more than a third of local authority referrals.

The report explains that OTs consider both the individual and their occupations and environment, including home and community settings.

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It adds that by looking at an individual’s ability to participate in daily life, OTs: identify the right support to address people’s needs; teach strategies and adapt the home to allow people to remain independent; and address the barriers to people staying connected within their local community.

RCOT Chief Executive Julia Scott commented: “Every day we hear about the crisis in social care, people not having access to services when they need them, people moving into residential care due to the lack of community services and families and carers under enormous pressure.

“People who need social services are struggling with daily life. Successive governments have continually promised to focus on social care, but people in need don’t have time to wait for a green or white paper, they need help now.

“It’s clear that occupational therapists are a vital part of the solution. They give a person centred approach which focuses on making the things that matter to people possible again. By focusing on the person’s ability to participate in daily life they can vastly improve their quality of life.

“This report outlines how occupational therapy services are not only cost effective but can make a considerable difference to people’s lives on a day to day basis. Occupational Therapists are increasingly recognised as an essential part of social care services and in some local authority areas they are the first to assess people and swiftly resolve difficulties without the need to refer on to other parts of the system.”

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