RCOT Leading fulfilled lives report imageThe Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has launched a report demonstrating the vital role that occupational therapy plays in assisting people with learning disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Entitled ‘Leading fulfilled lives’, the report makes insightful recommendations for how occupational therapists can help enhance the life opportunities for disabled people.

According to the Centre for Disability Research, by 2030, the life expectancy for people with a learning disability is forecast to increase by 164 percent to 80 years of age. Although this is a positive statistic, this means that more people are living with multi-morbidities, notes RCOT.

To capitalise on this shifting demographic, RCOT believes that a greater focus needs to be made on early intervention, prevention and management of people with learning disabilities to allow them to have a better quality of life.

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The report also outlines that service provision needs to be reshaped to optimise multidisciplinary working to enable people to live well with complex conditions.

In addition, RCOT suggest the different ways that occupational therapists can support people with learning disabilities, such as: to ensure participation within communities is a core activity in service commissioning and delivery; to support people with learning disabilities to live fully integrated lives within communities; and to create targeted care to ensure people get the right care in the right place.

Julia Scott, CEO of RCOT, said: “People with learning disabilities face daily challenges. Whether it’s developing social relationships, gaining paid employment or simply taking part in their communities – having learning disabilities should never be a barrier.

“In fact, the right of all people, regardless of their abilities, to have opportunities to participate in a full range of everyday activities is recognised by the United Nations.

“This right is core to occupational therapy beliefs and values. As this report demonstrates, occupational therapists have a vital role to support people with learning disabilities to lead fulfilling lives. Their focus is always person centred and occupational therapists tailor and adapt their approach to each individual. They help them develop skills for daily living, including accessing education, taking part in family and cultural life, as well as help them transition through the key stages in their lives.”

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