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Why Occupational Therapists May Recommend Mobility Aids

When an individual struggles with routine activities, an Occupational Therapist (OT) can assist in pinpointing the obstacles and suggest appropriate resources or methods that can be enhanced or utilized to promote the best possible health and well-being. The term ‘occupation’ describes “all the everyday things we do in our life roles, but also the things we do to be who we are, the things we do to create a meaningful life and to engage with wider society and culture”. All occupational therapists working in Australia are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) to practice. 

Mobility issues, such as difficulties with walking, balance, coordination, or muscle strength, can significantly affect a person's quality of life, making everyday tasks challenging and potentially limiting social interactions or participation in activities. These issues often stem from a variety of conditions, including aging, injury, disability, or illness. Mobility aids are tools that are designed specifically to assist with everyday tasks. The types of mobility aids can vary significantly, ranging from low-tech options like canes, walkers, and crutches to high-tech devices such as powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There are also specialized aids designed for specific purposes, such as stair lifts and transfer aids. 

OTs will perform assessments to understand what activities their clients are currently engaged in but feel limited by their mobility and identify if any aids can be used to allow them to participate more freely. They will also discuss any goals the client may have and provide ongoing assessments to work towards those goals.    

According to HealthDirect, an OT may:

  • help with rehabilitation after an accident or illness
  • work with children such as those with learning difficulties
  • develop strategies to help with a disability or mental health issues
  • help improve a client's confidence in social situations

In the instance of rehabilitation after an accident where mobility aids are only required for a short amount of time, temporary tools may be recommended eg. a manual wheelchair with ramps to assist in movement around the house. 

The journey of using a mobility aid can be an emotionally and physically daunting experience for many individuals. Family members and friends play a pivotal role in this journey and can help ensure its successful long-term use. There are a number of ways that friends and family members can help, including:

  • Helping to ensure the home is able to facilitate the mobility aid(s)
  • Spend time practising using the mobility aid together while getting accustomed.
    Knowing how to safely transfer your loved one without the aid if necessary and understanding the emergency features of the device.
  • Help in maintaining the mobility aid, ensuring it's always in good working condition. 

Occupational Therapists' specialised mobility aid recommendations ensure that individuals receive the most suitable support for their specific needs. The help of friends and families can offer their loved ones an enhanced sense of health, autonomy, and the freedom to navigate their world with greater confidence and independence. Visit Occupational Therapy Australia to find out more about Occupational Therapy and OTs. Mobility Hire and Sales regularly work with OTs to provide or source the necessary mobility aids. Call 02 4342 5308 or contact us, and our friendly staff will help you get started.