About the Occupational Therapy department

We aim to enhance, enable and empower young people’s participation in daily tasks by helping them adapt to the challenges they face as a result of illness, developmental delay or disability.

What does this mean?

Children are constantly learning, developing and maturing, whether at school, during play or when they are doing simple everyday tasks like brushing their teeth. As children grow, they continue to expand their life skills and become increasingly independent. Occupational therapy supports this natural process, despite illness or disability, and provides the tools and strategies that promote independence, participation in daily tasks and integration in society.

Our therapy is designed to enable children to master daily tasks and achieving personal goals, be it tying a lace, communicating their needs or using a wheelchair independently for the first time. Engaging successfully with daily tasks contributes to self confidence, health and well being.

Children who experience barriers to their everyday functioning often require extra care and management from those who are closest to them. Parents and carers often take on the primary responsibility for managing and co-ordinating this care. The occupational therapy team supports carers in this role to ensure that they feel able to do this appropriately.

What do we do?

We aim to minimise the impact of illness and disability on young people’s participation in everyday life. The occupational therapy team would like the young people under our care to thrive, develop and grow so that they can live rewarding and satisfying lives.

Our team is experienced in assessing children’s ability to do daily tasks so that we can formulate a treatment plan to address their needs. We are often asked to investigate difficulties in fundamental activities.

Assessment: The aim of assessment is to highlight a child’s strengths and areas of need. The information gathered is used to determine the influence that disability and illness might have on the child's participation in daily tasks.

Advice: At Great Ormond Street Hospital, we offer specialist advice, within specific clinical areas, to support children’s functioning at school, at home and during leisure or play activities.

Treatment: Specialist treatment interventions may be suggested to complement the advice given. This may include splinting and hand therapy, postural management, group therapy and pressure care. In some cases, we may establish new techniques to help the young person to complete daily tasks or recommend specialist equipment to enable the patient to join in with tasks and challenges at home or at school.

Liaison: We will communicate with local services as necessary to ensure the continuation of care and support to young people as they return to their communities. This may include charities, community services and local health professionals.

Discharge Planning: Our team helps with the discharge process. Therapists ensure that children are able to participate safely in their home and school environments after a hospital stay and may put families in touch with agencies that can help to facilitate this.

Who do we work with?

It's important to work in partnership with all those involved with a young person. This is because a child’s functioning can be influenced by the varied physical and social environments they find themselves in. We routinely work alongside parents/carers, teachers, community support services and other health professionals.

Where do we work?

At Great Ormond Street Hospital, we work on a number of wards and service certain outpatient clinics. The occupational therapists form part of the multidisciplinary teams in these clinical areas.