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Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit (ASRU)

Public Service, Spinal, Rehabilitation Medicine, Urology

Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapists are registered health professionals. Their goal is to help people live independent, productive and satisfying lives. They do this by helping people develop, relearn, and maintain daily living and work skills. Occupational Therapists also help caregivers, families, friends, teachers and employers to understand and learn how to support individuals with disabilities, so that the person living with a spinal cord injury can maintain or increase their independence. The word "occupation"’ in occupational therapy refers to the activities and tasks that we all do every day. Occupational therapists assist people to perform activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to daily needs such as dressing, cooking and eating.

What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Occupational Therapists assess each person by interviewing them (and maybe members of his/her family/whānau) to understand their perspective of the functional concerns associated with the SCI and by observing activities the person usually does and how they are now managing.

Interventions may include:

  • helping to break activities into smaller steps
  • teaching new or different ways of doing old activities
  • teaching others new or different ways to help
  • group or individual work
  • assessing the need for, and where necessary, prescribe specialised equipment and/or housing modifications so that the person can manage their usual daily activities
  • stress management
  • play, leisure or recreation activities
  • exercises to increase strength and dexterity
  • advice on healthy living especially related to living with a chronic illness or disability
  • provide specific information to help a person achieve their goals.

Our team provides both an Inpatient and an Outpatient service.

For inpatients our focus/aims are on rehabilitation, determining equipment and home needs, community support needs and establishing links within the person’s community in order to return them to independent living with or without supportive services.

Our Outpatient service covers:

  • wheelchair and seating assessment, reviews
  • splinting
  • hand therapy
  • training for independent living programmes (ACC only)
  • pressure care education and management
  • assessment of activities of daily living.

Appointments with our Outpatient team are available from Monday - Friday, 8am to 4pm. The outpatient team covers predominantly the South Auckland region; however we will see patients in the greater Auckland area if indicated and on a case by case basis.

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This page was last updated at 12:10PM on November 23, 2021.