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 Health Service Executive (HSE) Local Health Offices or Primary Care Teams.
In theory, everyone who needs the service of an occupational therapist is eligible. In practice, there may be long waiting lists and applications are prioritised according to need. Prescribed aids and appliances are available free of charge to medical card holders, people on the Long Term Illness Scheme and people who have a Health Amendment Act Card.
The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (the professional body that regulates the profession in Ireland) has a database of occupational therapists in private practice.
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 aids and appliances. For example, a wheelchair, chair lift or downstairs bathroom.
The occupational therapist may then arrange for the provision of some appropriate aids and appliances by the HSE if you are eligible 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 find a private occupational therapist contact the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland or consult the database on its website.
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.