Occupational therapy services are designed to help people who have a disability (physical, psychological or social) to achieve the maximum degree of independence in ordinary living.
Many occupational therapists work in the HSE's Local Health Offices. Their services are generally available free of charge to medical card holders and people who have contracted Hepatitis C directly or indirectly from the use of Human Immunoglobulin-Anti-D or from the receipt within Ireland of any blood product or a blood transfusion and who have Health Amendment Act Cards.
In some cases, people who urgently need the service may be referred to private practitioners by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The service is usually provided in your home but it can also be provided in your local health centre.
In theory, everyone who needs the service of an occupational therapist is eligible. In practice, there are long waiting lists and priority is given to;
Usually, the occupational therapist carries out an assessment of your ability to function in relation to the normal requirements of living - dressing, eating, bathing, etc. Your home arrangements are also assessed and a decision is made as to what assistance you need by way of appliances.(For example, a wheelchair, chair lift, downstairs bathroom, etc.).
The occupational therapist may then arrange for the provision of some appropriate aids and appliances by the Health Service Executive (HSE) or may certify that you are eligible for the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability. They may also provide advice and assistance to you and your family or carers in relation to changes or adaptations that need to be made to the house.
You may apply directly to the Health Service Executive for the services of an occupational therapist, but it is more usual for you to be referred by a public health nurse, family doctor (GP) or hospital.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.