The future is what we can help to realize through our reflections, our integration of what was, is and could be. To contribute to the development of this section, we invite you to take the time to consider the future and let us know your thoughts and aspirations for where our profession can and should go in the future.
Thoughts of the future
Occupational therapists across Canada were asked to provide a quote of their vision for the future of occupational therapy. Here is what they said:
As occupational therapists we are unmatched by others as specialists in enabling engagement in occupations desired and needed in life. With this professional mandate, there are many opportunities, often unmet for use of our knowledge and skills. Our future lies in our identity and pride as occupational therapists and our own enablement in the broad range of roles open to us in policy, research, administration, scholarship, education and clinical practice.
Claudia von Zweck, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.), OT(C)
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapy provides the basis of intervention for those who want to maintain their independence and remain living in the community. As the pressures for Long Term Care beds and acute hospital beds rise with the aging population, occupational therapists will be recognized for their expertise in aiding our older adult population in staying in their own homes. Our role in community care will be paramount in making the best use of health care dollars while providing clients with the most satisfaction.
Rebecca Bair-Patel, OT Reg. (Ont)
Manager Client Services
Champlain Community Care Access Centre
When we consider the present, and anticipated aging population of our country, it is clearly evident that occupational therapists will play an even more prominent role with facilitating the service delivery philosophy of “aging in place”. Our clinical experience and continued research in home and seating and mobility assessments, effective adaptive and assistive equipment recommendations will serve this population with opportunities to accommodate for their inability to perform their daily activities, both in their home environment and in the community at large. With the advancement in technology and rehabilitation research, occupational therapists will be key partners in various capacities when it comes to addressing our seniors expected needs in the coming years.
Julia Pereira, BA Kin, BHSc OT
Louis Brier Home and Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia
Together, occupational therapists will foster knowledge creation to ensure vibrant and creative occupational therapy services. We will challenge our assumptions and expand the focus of our action – from a focus on individuals to groups and communities; from changing the person to changing the environment. We will learn by doing!
Mary Law, PhD, FCAOT, FCAHS
Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science,
Co-Founder, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research,
Individuals living rurally and remotely have equitable access to occupational therapy.
Alison Sisson, BScOT(C), MSc
A/Community Liaison Coordinator
Yukon Homecare Program
During the past six years that I have spent working as an occupational therapist in the Yukon, I have seen our profession grow tremendously. The number of occupational therapists in the Yukon has more than doubled. The recognition of the importance of the contribution of occupational therapy in various settings is being increasingly acknowledged. In my own experience working in the schools, I’ve seen tremendous growth as well. The number of teachers, parents, and other professionals who now not only understand the role of an occupational therapist but also make appropriate referrals has increased significantly. It is an exciting time for occupational therapists! I think that the emphasis on evidenced-based practice, which has led to an increase in research in our domain, will continue to propel our profession forward.
Melissa Croskery, BSc(OT), OT(C)
Special Programs, Department of Education
Yukon Territorial Government
In the future, I imagine occupational therapists contributing to the health of the population in a variety of settings, always with a focus on helping people participate in the activities that are important to them at home, at work, and in the public sphere. Occupational therapists will be valued members of primary care teams, community service teams, and health care teams – participating in partnership with colleagues and clients.
Lori Letts, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.), FCAOT
Assistant Dean, Occupational Therapy Program
Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science
The power of occupational therapy has always been, and will continue to be, its focus on enabling people to find purpose and meaning in their lives. In doing so, occupational therapy assists individuals to share their talents and ideas within their families, communities and the greater world.
As we move forward in the age of social media, occupational therapy will create a social network in the forgotten realm of face to face - one on one. Our roots in occupation will become the future, recognized connections to health, happiness creating equality through impacting social policy locally, nationally and internationally.
Liz Taylor, PhD
Department of Occupational Therapy
University of Alberta
Discovery; seek new knowledge and contribute to new evidence. Dissemination; share, discuss and reflect on what you learn. Determination; persist in the face of personal or professional challenges. Driving force; promote best practices in occupational therapy.
Annette Majnemer, OT, PhD, FCAHS
Interim Director, School of Physical & Occupational Therapy