Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)
The profession of occupational therapy is all about creativity in solving barriers to function. However, often we come across problems for which no solution currently exists. In those cases we need to customize a solution that works for the client, their environment or care providers.
Personally, I have had great success with the local Tetra Society for developing creative solutions to problems that need a custom approach. In one situation, my client who suffered from quadriplegia had the goal of feeding himself. His elbow and shoulder flexion did not allow for his hand to reach his mouth. With the help of his physiotherapist and Tetra engineer we were able to create a custom splint and modified utensils that bridged the gap between his hand and his mouth. The material costs were $40.00 and the engineer was a volunteer. In another situation my client, mobility impaired, wanted to attach his walker to his scooter so he could park his scooter and walk into the places he was visiting. Tetra was able to custom mold a bracket for his walker at a cost of $10.00. Another client also used Tetra under my encouragement to develop a bracket that would allow her to mount her camera so she could take photos from her power wheelchair.
Occupational therapy is about custom solutions to sometimes complicated problems. But I believe that every problem has a solution and that as professionals we need to stay apprised of the options in the community that can help us to create customized solutions. Take a look online for your local Tetra Society.