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Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 75-76

Developing trends in occupational therapy: Global versus Indian perspective

1 Director and Occupational Therapist, Comprehensive Therapy Centre; Ex-Dean, Pad. Dr. D. Y. Patil College of Occupational Therapy, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra; Vice-President, The All India Occupational Therapists' Association; Editor, The The Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy
2 Director and Consultant, Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation, Rehabcare, Lucknow; Director, Deenbandhu Rehabilitation Center, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India; President, The All India Occupational Therapists' Association; Editor-in-Chief, The The Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy; Executive Chairman, The Academic Council of Occupational Therapy

Date of Web Publication20-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anil K Srivastava
93, Laxmanpuri, Faizabad Road, Lucknow - 226 016, Uttar Pradesh

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_20_19

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How to cite this article:
Oberai S, Srivastava AK. Developing trends in occupational therapy: Global versus Indian perspective. Indian J Occup Ther 2019;51:75-6

How to cite this URL:
Oberai S, Srivastava AK. Developing trends in occupational therapy: Global versus Indian perspective. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Jun 7];51:75-6. Available from: http://www.ijotonweb.org/text.asp?2019/51/3/75/267480

Occupational therapy (OT) is viewed as a benchmark profession, crucial to the development of society, for addressing contemporary and future societal issues. The profession primarily helps enabling people to participate in the activities of everyday life.

The growing demand and scope of OT is evident. However, at the same time, it has been, and is still so much schematized that the public does not understand the significance of this unique profession as entirely different from other healthcare professions, even though public awareness campaigns have been, and are still organized, as needed.

We are aware that OT emerged as a result of historical events which arose to create its purpose and aim, as a healthcare field, at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1971, Dr. Mary Reilly[1] expressed her thoughts about the therapist's role as a health agent: “The commitment and hence the capitalization in medicine is directed toward the reduction and prevention of pathology and the treatment of acute phases of illness, i.e., the primary care. Occupational therapy makes its investment in the health residual which follows pathology and hence focuses on the chronic aspect of the illness and is concerned with health rather than pathology.”

Healthcare system continues to change, so do opportunities for OT. We identify new initiatives and opportunities in primary care and explore the common challenges to integrating OT in primary care environments.

OT in India is also steadily striving for professional development. The All India Occupational Therapists' Association (AIOTA) is tirelessly working in the development of professional education and advises the government with regard to regulatory guidance and quality control in India.

OT is a dynamic and progressive profession with continued advances in innovative practice, education, lifelong learning, and public advocacy. To meet out these challenges of the profession, AIOTA is continuously organizing continuing OT education programs, workshops, and seminars on sensitive topics such as documentation, research methodology, standardized assessment tools, and advanced techniques in different clinical aspects of patient's therapeutic management. Recently, AIOTA in collaboration with Academic Council of OT has successfully accomplished Postgraduate Fellowship Programs in Advanced OT in Neuro-Developmental Disorders and the second Fellowship in Advanced OT in Neuro Rehabilitation with more specialty areas in the pipeline.

OT has its origins in mental health; hence, the area of mental health is an essential component of the profession. Occupational therapists provide mental health treatment and prevention services for patients with all age groups and those with severe and persistent mental illness, with the ultimate focus on function and independence.

Occupational therapists also efficiently work with the aging population as support for “Aging in Place,” by modifying homes and interiors for safe access, helping with technology and assistive devices for functional independence. Occupational therapists are now working with employers to develop strategies that support worker's productivity. Furthermore, as organizations in government and nongovernment are becoming more aware of the link between ergonomics and workplace injury, occupational therapists are stepping in, as injury prevention and workplace modification consultants.

Another emerged area of practice is school-based OT to help children with disabilities prepare to enter special education programs and also work to create the proper learning and environmental conditions for special children. Early intervention, sensory integration, and musculoskeletal and hand rehabilitation are much practiced and popular areas of OT practice.

We get to see more healthcare systems launching community health initiatives and occupational therapists are getting involved in education and awareness programs and are instrumental in helping individuals lead productive independent lives. Occupational therapists are also equipped to perform driver screenings, evaluations, and interventions.

Despite having multidimensional role in healthcare system, occupational therapists often remain in the gray area and their work as well as needs go unnoticed. As healthcare continues to transform and innovative models are tested, OT practitioners are compelled to identify new opportunities and rapidly adapt to changes. Media coverage is an important catalyst for raising public awareness about the distinct role of OT. We need to optimize our online presence by advancing our website more actively and be enriched with information, maintaining active social media channels and cultivating positive online reviews. OT providers have to further expand their marketing efforts to account for patient consumers and better communicate their value to patients and other healthcare providers alike.

Thus, our goal ahead would be to develop technology, to advance the therapy world and switch to a program that can help manage patient engagement and outcome. Collaboration with other providers is also an essential requirement to effectively communicate our contribution by educating interprofessional teams as part of our daily interactions. This will create a referral network, allowing providers to provide care for more patients. It is important to be working together to provide value-based care that the patients are expecting from healthcare professionals. The World Federation of OT is working on the development of the quality indicator framework to guide the selection of a coherent, relevant, and balanced set of quality indicators to monitor the quality of OT services.

Besides collaboration, telehealth in OT is also on the rise and becoming more in demand. As patients face busier lives, they are looking for more convenience when it comes to their health. Telehealth provides just that when it comes to meeting patient's hectic lifestyles, and when coming in for a face-to-face appointment, isn't an option.

Reilly[1] had predicted that the future of the profession will depend upon the adaptive responses, which are made by the clinician and the professional association, upon the challenge of new demands. With the amalgamation of technology and global OT practice guidelines, the profession of OT has competency to empower patients and strengthen communities.

  References Top

Ernest M. The Changing Role of the Occupational Therapist. Theses Submitted to the University of British Columbia. Vancouver, Canada; 1972. Available from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6e0c/4582b245db73e18e3ef0b0fb9255b9f175fe.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Jul 10].  Back to cited text no. 1


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