Occupational Therapists are crucial to helping people with MS stay in work, says new report

College of Occupational Therapists LogoA major report from the MS Society has called for occupational therapists to be more involved in caring for people with Multiple Sclerosis.   Amongst its key recommendations it asks Governments across the UK to ensure that multi-disciplinary health and social care teams include occupational therapists, ‘who can do so much to help people with MS stay active and help employers make appropriate adjustments.’

The report – A lottery of treatment and care – states that occupational therapists are ‘crucial’ to unlocking barriers to employment, enabling people with MS to get into and remain in work.  It insists that assessments for benefits such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) recognise the needs of people with fluctuating conditions, such as MS.

Karin Bishop, Interim Head of Practice at COT said: “This report highlights unacceptable inconsistencies in the care and support that people with MS receive.   Access to the right support is vital and care must be tailored to suit the needs of each individual, and that is where occupational therapists’ skills can make a difference.   Occupational therapists can help to address many of the problems highlighted in this report, providing preventative support and helping people to manage all aspects of living with MS.”

Occupational therapists, who work across both health and social care, are key to meeting the whole person needs of those with MS, providing integrated care in several important areas.

Occupational therapists can provide:

–          Fatigue management, helping people with day to day tasks, employment and social activities

–          Emotional support for people with MS and their carers

–          Assessments for home adaptations to help with personal care and domestic jobs

–          Employment support – such as modifying tasks and environment adaptations

–          Advice on staying active , helping people to continue with their hobbies and passions

Find out more about the College of Occupational Therapists and the British Assocation of Occupational Therapists at www.cot.co.uk.

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