Occupational Therapy improving lives daily

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Occupational Therapy is a new profession in Guyana for which training is offered at the University of Guyana. Since it is new, it is often confused with the well-known physiotherapy profession.

In Guyana, this profession is employed by the Disability and Rehabilitation services of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). According to this agency, Occupational Therapy is a skilled treatment offered by a professional which help individuals gain independence in all facets of their life.

There are only four Occupational Therapists working in Guyana who graduated from the University of Guyana in 2017, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Medical Rehabilitation-Occupational Therapy. These four persons are currently working in various settings at the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Rehabilitation Department, West Demerara Regional Hospital and The Palms Geriatric Home.

Images of the first professional batch of Guyanese Occupational Therapists working with patients

An occupational therapist devises creative solutions and alternatives for recovering patients with physical inability. More specifically, therapists would actively engage patients in activities which improve functions of daily living such as eating, dressing, leisure, grooming and hygienic activities.

Since it is a new profession in Guyana, it requires a certain personality to take up responsibilities in this area. They must be practical, empathetic, observant, organised, patient and imaginative while also being a clear communicator with a good sense of humour.

A personality comprising all these qualities is crucial since affected patients may be aged between 0 and 100+ and may be from various cultural backgrounds, nationalities or walks of life.

An Occupational Therapist is least likely to be found in an office or behind a desk. Since their job description is more practical they can be found in hospitals, schools, community-based organisations, workspaces (specialised units) and in some cases even in prisons.

Common conditions treated by an Occupational Therapist include patients who suffered a stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, arthritis, head injuries and amputations. Overall, the role of the Occupational Therapist is to enable their patients to maximise their potential physically, emotionally, socially, mentally whether at home, school or work.

By: Delicia Haynes

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