Occupational therapy services
Occupational therapy services are designed to help people who have a disability 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.
There may be a waiting list to see an occupational therapist 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 has a directory of occupational therapists in private practice. You can search the directory on the website aoti.ie.
CORU, the regulator for health and social care professionals, has a statutory register of occupational therapists in both public and private healthcare services.
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 the occupational therapist decides 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, your family or your carers about what changes or adaptations need to be made.
How to apply
You may apply directly to your Local Health Office for the services of an occupational therapist, but it is more usual to be referred by a public health nurse, family doctor (GP) or hospital.
To find a private occupational therapist contact the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland or consult the database on its website, aoti.ie.