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News from Member Organisations March 2023 - Ireland

The Irish TV channel RTÉ highlighted the role of occupational therapy in helping individuals making plans to future proof their homes when planning a renovation or new build in the programme “Room to Improve”. The Enabling Environments Advisory Group of AOTI followed the episode with a valuable factsheet for members of the public about “Downsizing your home”. It is available here.

A recent survey of AOTI members showed concerning results about experiences of burnout in the profession of Occupational Therapy in Ireland. From a sample of 430 occupational therapists, two-thirds feel more negatively about their job than twelve months ago. Changes to how services are delivered, increasing demands and loss of staff were all highlighted as challenges. The CEO of AOTI, Odhrán Allen noted that, in the Irish context “against the backdrop of a rising demand for Occupational Therapist interventions, many seriously understaffed services, and rapidly growing waiting lists, the provision of sustained, high-quality services that help children and adults to participate in everyday meaningful activities is increasingly realistic”. A full press release on the results of this survey is available at here.

Despite these challenges, occupational therapists in Ireland are continuing to develop new and innovative projects to improve occupational participation and engagement. Two recent highlights include;

  • The development of a lending resource of toys and sensory equipment to be hosted in libraries across counties Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon. Library visitors can also use sensory spaces and avail of public webinars about neurodiversity. This project involved the collaboration of OT Dr Dorothy Armstrong and librarians from across the region. More information is available here.
  • Alice Moore and Dr Helen Lynch from University College Cork won the 2022 Ann Beckett Award for their CRANN Inclusive Playground project. In this project, the researchers worked with children, families, architects, builders and other stakeholders to build a fully inclusive playground designed for all children to be able to play in a barrier-free way. The project was also highlighted across national newspapers in Ireland. Please read here.

Jackie Fox, WFOT Alternate Delegate

Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI)