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Positioning Occupational Therapists as Leaders in Seniors Health & Well-being

Positioning Occupational Therapists as Leaders in Seniors Health & Well-being

As treasurer of OSOT, Lesya Dyk contributed the following article to OSOT members via “A Monthly Message from the OSOT Board of Directors” regarding seniors aging in palace which is a current focus of interest as June is National Seniors Month.

Occupational therapy has a significant role to play in helping seniors lead healthy and productive lives. OSOT is working hard to support our members with several initiatives to address the aging population in Canada.

Aging Population Chart

According to Statistics Canada – by 2038, a quarter of our population will be over the age of 65. This will mean that there will be 4.8 million more people over the age of 65 than there are now. The current resources available in health care will not be able to gear up to meet this need.

The reality is that the crisis of how to meet the health needs of the aging population is here. What is certain, there will be more of a role for Occupational Therapy – if we are careful and ready ourselves . This BoardTalk is dedicated to how OSOT is working toward this goal. Consider the following 5 examples of our commitment.

1. Home Modification Canada Steering Committee (HMC)

OSOT was a founding member of the Steering Committee of a consortium called Home Modification Canada (HMC) that was struck by Don Fenn of Caregiver Omnimedia in 2015 to address the “Ageing in Place” issue. While it is clear that a lack of long term care resources will necessitate seniors aging in place, that is, in fact, where research tells us they want to be. HMC was focused on promoting the need to better organize and integrate the home modification marketplace to best meet the needs of that growing aging population who wish to age in place.

In the spring of 2017 HMC made a presentation to the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) with a proposal to develop a multi-faceted national partnership approach that would;

  • support builders/contractors, manufacturers, retailers and set standards, accredit and ensure the quality and value of home modifications

  • coordinate information about existing funding/financing mechanisms for home renovations/modifications

  • support the Canadian Licensing of the CAPS (Certified Ageing in Place Specialist) programme to include a re-written section on Occupational Therapy

  • foster more dynamic public conversations about aging in place and home modifications

  • encourage the application of research and innovation in the fields of smart home technologies, practical products and solutions for home modifications and accessibility

  • support national, provincial and local policy makers to remove barriers, facilitate and incent home modifications for seniors

HMC’s report and recommendations were well received by the CHBA which has moved forward to develop a national Home Modification Council. The best news? Our early work and representation and advocacy with HMC has resulted in occupational therapy being the only health profession represented at the Council table!

I have had the pleasure of representing OSOT at the HMC Steering Committee, experiencing the respect and support of our colleague stakeholders in the home modification marketplace, and am delighted to continue this representation at the CHMA Council Table as CAOT now takes on the professional representational role at a national level.

2. OSOT’s Seniors Advisory Council

Two years ago, the Board of Directors engaged a group of members to advise on how best the Society could advance the profession as leaders in seniors health and well-being. As a strategic priority, a focus on seniors has informed initiatives OSOT has undertaken in advocacy, promotion and professional development in virtually all sectors of OT practice, however, our ability to move the needle in terms of leadership and recognition in seniors health is something we wished to advance more fully. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Barry Trentham, our council includes Christie Brenchley, Barbara Cawley, Dr. Catherine Donnelly, Dr. Colleen McGrath, Aaron Yuen and Dr. Briana Zur.

3. A Vision for Enabling Healthy Aging in Ontario – a knowledge mobilization too initiative!

Approving a recommendation and proposal of the Seniors Advisory Council, OSOT is embarking on a new project initiative which aims to promote the evidence-based value of using an occupational lens to respond to the needs of a growing older adult population. Focused on the development of a dynamic website that features modules focused on key life course occupational transitions and profiles the work that occupational therapists are doing and/or could be doing to enable aging well, the project is focused on knowledge mobilization both within and external to the profession.

An enabler of this project has been the successful application of the Society to become a partner of AGE-WELL, Canada’s Aging and Technology Network.

AGE-WELL’s co-funding and resource support to the project both recognizes the value of promoting and enriching occupational therapy as a resource to aging well, but also provides access to knowledge translation resources to support OSOT members who share a practice interest in seniors health and well-being. Watch for our formal launch of this partnership later this month!

Meantime, see our posting for a Post-Doctoral Trainee for a position commencing September 2018 and running to August 2019. This full-time position will take a leadership role in the development, facilitation and evaluation of this knowledge mobilization project. There’s still time to apply! See call for applications.

4. Supporting members practice expertise & leadership relating to seniors health and well-being

Assuming leadership roles in seniors health and well-being requires a ready and informed membership. You have OSOT’s commitment to support your professional development to enable you to position your services to serve the needs of seniors and the health system that supports them.

OSOT’s Conference 2018, ADVANCE! Journey to Excellence,

provides but one opportunity to get involved, participate and learn. This year we will host a professional issues/leadership forum focused on advancing our profession’s roles in seniors health and well-being – plan to be a part! Reserve the Conference dates – October 19 – 20, 2018 now!

The Society continues to look at opportunities to host webinars and workshops to give our membership the tools that they need to work in this arena. Watch for the 2018 – 19 PD Program of Events and check out our listing of Archived Webinars that can support your practice in this area.

5. Advocacy to position occupational therapy in seniors health services

OSOT continues to advocate for occupational therapy services for seniors across Ontario’s health care system. Our advocacy document, Occupational Therapy Can Help; challenges of an aging population has been shared broadly with government and amongst MPPs at our annual MPP Luncheon. There are so many ways that OTs can contribute and make meaningful differences to seniors health and quality of life, however, Ontarians need increased access to OT services! We have active advocacy and government relations strategies relating to:

As the OSOT Board puts the finishing touches on our new Strategic Plan, we will reveal how we will continue to advance work that supports our members, senior citizen clients and their families to ask for Occupational Therapy Services… and to access them! Stay tuned!

Lesya DykLesya Dyk,
President and Director of Clinical Service,
LDOT Services.

360 Queenston Rd., 2nd Floor, Unit# 3
Hamilton, ON
L8K 1H9

Hamilton: 905-481-1122
Toronto: 416-907-6287
Fax: 905-481-2550

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Helmet Safety

Helmet Safety


Back to School – The summer holidays are over and students are back at school.  This is also a time when the cooler Fall weather is upon us – a good time for kids and their families to leave their cars at home and ride their bikes to school and work! As well as a valuable source of transportation; cycling is also a great recreational activity, as long it is performed safely.

Safety when cycling is important, especially since the morning and afternoon rush contributes to greater accident risks. The best way to remain safe when riding a bike is to wear a properly fitted helmet. Taking this safety measure has been known to reduce the risk of serious injury such as concussion, brain injury, and even death.

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, University of Toronto concludes that helmets help prevent fatalities, not just non-serious head injuries as previously thought. (Article: Cyclists without helmets 3x chance of death)

Not only are brain injuries the leading cause of death in cyclists, if survived, a brain injury can seriously affect the rest of your or your loved one’s life. Even slight trauma to the brain can cause both mental and physical limitations. Victims of these injuries can face years of therapy and rehabilitation, and the impact can often last for the rest of their lives.

Although many kids do not see helmets as being ‘cool’, it is important to encourage them to wear their helmets at all times. To promote this safety habit among your child, simple strategies can be used:

  • lead by good example and wear a helmet yourself;
  • set rules to promote good behaviours (i.e. must wear your helmet if you want to use your bike);
  • and lastly, make helmets fun by letting your child choose the color and design for their helmet.

It is also important to note that any person under the age of 18 is legally required to wear a helmet. Also, parents and guardians are responsible to ensure that any child under the age of 16 is wearing a helmet. It’s the law, read more here.

The Fall is a great time for kids and families to get outdoors on their bikes and take advantage of the weather – as long as such outdoor activities are done safely, you can ensure the break will be enjoyable for everyone!

Protect Your Brain – Put a lid on it!
Click here for proper helmet fitting instructions

If you have any question regarding how LDOT can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Home Modification to Age in Place…Let’s Start that Conversation

Home Modification to Age in Place…Let’s Start that Conversation

Most people do not buy their first home with the idea of living there forever. But increasingly, seniors are not only living longer but are opting to “age in place” – to stay in their homes where they are happier and more comfortable.

Age in place

Most people do not buy their first home with the idea of living there forever. But increasingly, seniors are not only living longer but are opting to “age in place” – to stay in their homes where they are happier and more comfortable.

In this series of videos, we follow the journey of John and Inge – a couple who decided to “age in place”, but with a twist – they moved from a 2 storey 4 bedroom home to a bungalow while in their sixties. They made the modifications ahead of time, so they could be in control of the process, rather than have to consider making the changes on an emergency basis.

Most consumers do not yet recognize Home Modification as an industry. Why? Perhaps it has not been a priority in our society – until now. In an article published in Reuters (May 3, 2017), the following was reported: “The number of seniors in Canada exceeded the number of children for the first time last year, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday, pointing to the economic and social challenges facing the nation as the population ages.”

We must all start that conversation – NOW. We all must look into the future – our collective futures – and start to understand the needs of the consumer not only in the Home Health Sector, but in the Home Renovation and Home Modification sector as well.

When we tell governments, home builders and home renovators, consumer product industries, and our healthcare system what we want and what we need, we can all look forward to the possibility of ageing well, and ageing in place.

Video Series Age in Place – Episodes 1 through 4

Episode 1 of 4

Episode 2 of 4

Episode 3 of 4

Episode 4 of 4

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Fall Prevention – In–Home Safety to Address Ageing in Place

Fall Prevention – In–Home Safety to Address Ageing in Place

fall-preventionFall Prevention – Ageing in place – Staying put – Accessible at Home – Inclusive Space,  all are phrases that are being used to address the issue, no – crisis, that is facing us here in Canada.

With the population ageing, the last baby boomers hitting 55 years, with no further long term care facilities being built in the province of Ontario, ageing Ontarians and their caregivers are faced with the reality that to stay healthy, one must learn to live safely at home . Why? According to CDC published study:

  • In 2012–2013, 55% of all unintentional injury deaths among adults aged 65 and over were due to falls.
  • From 2000 through 2013, the age-adjusted fall injury death rate among adults aged 65 and over nearly doubled from 29.6 per 100,000 to 56.7 per 100,000.
  • Falls cause more accidental deaths than all other causes COMBINED.
  • Over 3/4 of all falls occur in or near the home

So while everybody talks about accessibility, for our ageing population, the concern is really Fall Prevention.

How can we help? We provide:

  • No hassle solution
  • A flat rate for initial screening assessment
  • After that, pay for only the services that you want
  • Well trained , experienced and supervised Occupational Therapists
  • A number of solutions depending on client individual needs and budget
  • Able to provide a list of vetted contractors that specialize in accessibility solutions

As regulated health professionals, we do not pay or accept referral fees – our recommendations are in your best interest, not ours

Want more information? Please contact or call our office directly.

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Equipment and Mobility Aids Funding

Equipment and Mobility Aids Funding

ot-equipment-funding_largeSome equipment funding and mobility aids are funded through the province of Ontario’s ADP programme. To be eligible for this programme, you must be assessed by an ADP authorized health care provider. Currently we do not have an ADP authorizer on staff, however, we would be happy to help you find one. If you have any questions regarding funding, please visit our resources portion of our site for some helpful links to funding options or call our office and we will try to find a funding solution for you.

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#AskForOT – Funding For Our Services

#AskForOT – Funding For Our Services

funding-occupational-therapy_largeIf you need our services, we are happy to help find funding options. Auto insurance and Extended Health Insurance often cover our services. If you are on ODSP, we can contact your worker to negotiate our service delivery. We can help access funding through March of Dimes for home adaptation projects and we can point you in the right direction for any government funding, such as the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit (2016). For some services we offer a flat rate consultation fee, competitive rates and flexible services for private pay solutions. Also, we are happy to work with your existing providers (e.g. physiotherapists, chiropractors, psychologists) or we can help you find services such as Personal Support Workers and Nurses. If you have any questions regarding funding, please visit our resources portion of our site for some helpful links to funding options or contact us directly via email or call our office and we will try to find a funding solution for you.

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What is a Regulated Health Professional?

What is a Regulated Health Professional?

regulated-health-pro_largeA Regulated Health Professional that, by law, is a person whom must be registered by a regulatory body to have the right to call themselves a member of that profession and use the title. A College is a regulatory body that in the interest of public protection, supports health care professionals to ensure that they are competent, ethical and accountable.  Occupational Therapists in the province of Ontario must belong to the College of Occupational Therapist of Ontario (COTO).

Lesya Dyk has been committed a leader in the profession of Occupational Therapy, including sitting on the Council of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario for 9 years,  and as President from 2010-2013. During this time, her executive duties included signing into law, the updated Registration Regulation, which will allow the public more access to the Register of Occupational Therapists. This will allow the public to gain greater access to information about the practitioners that treat them, finding treating Occupational Therapists , and therefore increasing public protection and access to care.

For more information contact:

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How are Occupational Therapists trained?

How are Occupational Therapists trained?

occupational-therapy-training_largeOccupational Therapist-OTs training in Ontario are now educated through Universities, either at a bachelors or masters level.  For therapist trained outside Canada, their credentials are screened to ensure they meet the minimum standard required in the province of Ontario. After finishing their course of study whether here or abroad, all Occupational Therapists in the province of Ontario must pass an exam that is set by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) in order to be considered a Registered Occupational Therapist.

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What can I expect during my first meeting?

What can I expect during my first meeting?

meeting-occupational-therapist_largeIn your first meeting with your Occupational Therapist, she or he will introduce themselves and provide you with their business card. You will then know their credentials and how to contact them in the future if you need to.  The therapist will then explain the purpose of the assessment, and what will happen during the assessment. Usually, the assessment will include an interview portion, and assessment of the home or work environment, a brief physical assessment, and if necessary, some other assessments that might require answering questions or writing. This process is called obtaining informed consent, so you know what you agreeing to in your assessment.

After the assessment is complete, you will be given information as to the report, and who it will be sent to. Also, your therapist may ask for your permission to contact your family doctor or other health professionals. They will ask you to sign a consent form that given them permission to release information or contact specific professionals or both.

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