The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Bethesda, Md, has introduced a new nationwide initiative to help educate the public about the scope and value of what experts are predicting to be one of health care’s most in-demand services in the coming decade—namely, occupational therapy.
Built around the phrase “Living Life To Its Fullest,” the new branding platform underscores the role the OT profession plays in helping people achieve and maintain good health while maximizing their potential to engage in all of life’s activities. The initiative includes special Web site features, podcasts, ads, posters, direct mail, educational materials, and the full use of social media tools to promote awareness of OT with consumers and within the health care community.
“Occupational therapy takes a body of knowledge that has evolved over a century and uses it to address very contemporary problems and issues,” says AOTA President Penelope Moyers Cleveland EdD, OTR/L, BCMH, FAOTA. “These include the effects of autism on children, adults and families, the safety of older drivers, the importance of full participation in life for residents in assisted living, the struggles in daily life of people with mental illness, and the problems of workers with physically challenging jobs. Research has shown that all of these people can be helped through occupational therapy.”
The timing for the launch of the new brand coincides with the growing trend of consumers engaging in more of their own health-related decisions, and comes at a time when the importance of addressing society’s health care and social problems is at the top of the public agenda. OT is provided in many different settings—private practice, community health centers, hospitals, schools and private homes—and most individuals are currently referred through a physician, discharge planner, social worker, or school counselor. Most private insurance policies and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid cover OT. As more and more consumers want to be empowered to make their own health care choices and live a healthier lifestyle, the use of occupational therapy is expected to grow significantly.