Occupational Therapy: Its Role and Purpose

6 min read
by Israel Gamburd |

For those who have not personally grappled with a disability or injury or witnessed it closely in someone they know, the concept of Occupational Therapy (OT) might seem unfamiliar, perhaps just a term you've come across in passing.  Occupational Therapy is a specialized field that often doesn't get the widespread attention it deserves, even though it plays a pivotal role in the rehabilitation and daily lives of many.


At Showerbuddy, our interactions with Occupational Therapists are not just occasional but are deeply embedded in our day-to-day operations.  We consistently collaborate with these dedicated professionals, offering support and resources to empower them to assist their clients more effectively.  The synergy between the Showerbuddy team and the worldwide community of OTs is profound.


Every day, we join hands, share insights, and work towards a shared goal. Recognizing the pivotal role OTs play and our interconnected relationship with them, we felt it imperative to illuminate this area of healthcare.  We want to provide a comprehensive insight for those who might be venturing into or merely curious about this domain for the first time.

What is an occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession dedicated to helping individuals of all ages achieve independence and enhance their ability to perform daily activities.

Through therapeutic practices, it aids people in adapting to challenges brought about by injuries, illnesses, or developmental disabilities, enabling them to live fulfilling and productive lives.

Occupational therapists develop customized intervention plans that focus on adapting the environment, modifying tasks, teaching skills, and promoting overall health and well-being.

What distinguishes an Occupational Therapist from a Physiotherapist?

While both Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Physiotherapists (PTs) operate in closely related fields and share the goal of enhancing an individual's quality of life, they approach this objective from different perspectives. An Occupational Therapist primarily focuses on optimizing a person’s ability to perform daily activities. They employ a combination of supportive personnel, tailored plans, and specialized equipment to facilitate this. On the contrary, Physiotherapists center their attention on enhancing the movement, functionality, and biomechanics of the human body.

Though distinct in their core functions, it's not uncommon to see their roles intersect, especially within comprehensive rehabilitation or support frameworks. As highlighted by Healthline, these professions share several similarities, particularly their shared mission: to elevate the daily life quality of their patients.

The decision to engage with an OT, a PT, or both often hinges on an individual's unique circumstances and requirements.

How can Occupational Therapy benefit me or those close to me?

Wondering about the specifics of occupational therapy and its potential advantages?

Occupational Therapists (OTs) adopt a systematic approach to identify and address the challenges an individual might be facing. The initial phase involves recognizing the particular obstacles a person encounters, followed by an in-depth assessment of their conditions and disabilities.

These impediments can be multifaceted. Some individuals may grapple with physical hurdles, such as limited strength or coordination. Others might face cognitive barriers, including memory lapses or challenges with planning and organization. Furthermore, experiences tied to mental health issues can also act as obstacles, impeding one's ability to perform daily, meaningful tasks. By understanding these unique challenges, OTs craft tailored interventions to enhance the individual's ability to navigate daily life.


An OT crafts a comprehensive plan tailored to the unique limitations an individual may have, serving as a central hub for coordinating necessary equipment and additional support.

Take Showerbuddy, for instance, a company specializing in bathroom mobility solutions. They don't merely provide equipment based on an OT's recommendation. The collaboration between Showerbuddy and the Occupational Therapist community goes much deeper, encompassing detailed discussions that move beyond mere equipment provision to in-depth problem-solving tailored to individual requirements. There are instances where Showerbuddy and OTs collaboratively design bespoke solutions, adapting to specific bathroom dimensions or incorporating particular accessories to ensure maximum comfort during bathroom routines.

Furthermore, an OT devises both daily and weekly schedules for the individual, aimed at reintroducing a sense of routine and normalcy to their daily living.

Activities that may pose challenges for some individuals

Often, we only recognize the complexity of daily tasks when we pause to reflect or when faced with a disability. It's surprising to note the sheer variety of activities we undertake on a regular day.

The physical and cognitive demands of these tasks can become significant barriers for many. That's where Occupational Therapists (OTs) step in, guiding individuals to maneuver through these challenges more efficiently.

Here are some common activities that might pose difficulties:

  • Meal preparation and consumption
  • Driving and other transportation needs
  • Engaging in recreational activities and exercise
  • Using computers or other workstations
  • Showering or taking a bath
  • Using restroom facilities
  • Managing time efficiently
  • Maintaining a tidy and welcoming living space
  • Interacting and caring for children
  • Pursuing hobbies
  • Building the confidence to tackle the day's demands
  • Participating in social gatherings
  • Cultivating supportive friendships and relationships

This enumeration only scratches the surface of the myriad activities that constitute a person's daily routine. OTs consider these and many more when crafting their strategies, ensuring they offer tangible, applicable support wherever feasible.



What do Occupational Therapists offer their clients?

While daily tasks and challenges differ from one person to another, so does the assistance that an OT renders. Building a rapport and establishing trust with clients is paramount for OTs, ensuring the provision of tailored, effective support.

Here are several avenues through which OTs aid individuals:

  1. Instructing individuals in adopting new methods for daily tasks post-illness or injury, such as self-dressing or preparing meals.
  2. Modifying tools or suggesting equipment tailored to their needs, from recommending wheelchairs to furnishing specialized bathroom aids.
  3. Revamping living or workspace environments to better accommodate and facilitate their daily routines.
  4. Facilitating the acquisition of new skills or hobbies, including programs that prepare individuals for employment.
  5. Providing strategies for pain management, enabling individuals to pursue desired activities without undue discomfort.
  6. Empowering individuals to foster a positive self-image and take pride in their accomplishments.
  7. Enhancing their self-assuredness in social environments and interactions.


Elevating Daily Routines with ShowerBuddy's Occupational Therapy Solutions

At the heart of effective occupational therapy is the implementation of expertly crafted equipment. ShowerBuddy stands out as a leading brand, providing tools that empower individuals to navigate daily tasks with autonomy and assurance.

While many associate these equipment categories with functions like bathing, exercising, and toileting, it's important to note their universal appeal. ShowerBuddy products aren’t just for the elderly. Indeed, many young individuals are reaping the benefits of our innovative tools, from robust walkers to dependable support rails and ergonomic wedges.


Comprehensive Positioning Solutions for Optimal Comfort and Health

Certain daily tasks necessitate individuals to sustain specific body postures for prolonged durations. To cater to these demands, occupational therapists often employ specialized positioning equipment. For instance, a massage chair is used to firmly stabilize a patient’s body, allowing a massage therapist to effectively target muscle groups.

Alternatively, a patient may benefit from a specialized cushion known as a knee elevator. Typically shaped like a triangle, this foam accessory elevates the knees. Its design aims to prevent nerve compression, enhance circulation, and alleviate pressure on the lumbar region.

Wedges, while bearing some resemblance to knee elevators, feature a gentler slope. These versatile tools double up as pillows, positioning a patient's neck at a subtle angle. Using a wedge can also aid patients in sleeping with an elevated head, promoting easier breathing.

Advanced Rehabilitation Tools: Bridging OT and PT

The realms of Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) often intersect, especially when it comes to rehabilitation. As patients journey towards restoring their pre-injury or pre-illness capabilities, they require comprehensive support, not just in task execution but also in physical mobilization.

Central to this journey is the role of sophisticated rehabilitation equipment, tailored to aid each phase of recovery. Key among these tools are sinus systems, irrigators, and bespoke exercise equipment, including weighted medicine balls. Sinus systems and irrigators serve a vital function by clearing congested sinus passages, thereby facilitating easier breathing and overall well-being.

On the other hand, specialized exercise equipment focuses on muscle rehabilitation. For instance, by using tailored tools, patients can specifically hone arm movements or bolster hand grip strength, both of which are crucial for everyday activities. In essence, such equipment doesn't merely restore physical function; it empowers individuals to regain control of their daily lives.

Bathing Equipment

The ability to take a bath or shower is something many take for granted. But in the case of a disabled person, this everyday task is anything but simple. Some cannot stand up to shower or sit down in the bottom of the bathtub, and need some help such as that from a carer or specialty equipment. In some homes, a bathroom might be completely built or renovated to have aids like rails, grip bars, anti slip flooring and lifts.

Showerbuddy provides shower and bath transfer systems that require no remodelling to a bathroom at all, and enable mobility for even small bathrooms. It’s why more OTs are choosing to work with Showerbuddy for their clients – users can be showering within an hour of set up.

Bathroom Independence: Central to Occupational Therapy

Among daily routines, bathroom independence stands out as paramount. We firmly uphold that every individual deserves dignity within the confines of a bathroom. Showerbuddy offers an array of solutions that cater to both individual and caregiver-assisted scenarios. Discover the Showerbuddy collection by visiting our website