This guide will tell you what Occupational Therapy is, how it can help, who can be referred and how.

The purpose of Occupational Therapy is to improve your ability to do everyday tasks if you're having difficulties.

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and can look at all aspects of daily life. They:

  • look at activities you find difficult and see if there's another way you can do them
  • consider all of your needs - physical, psychological, social and environmental.

This support can make a real difference in the way you feel about your future.

To read more about Occupational Therapy to The Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

Who can we help

If you're over 18 and have a long-term health condition resulting in disability and need help to:

  • enter and leave your home
  • wash, bath and use the toilet
  • use living and sleeping areas
  • use food preparation and cooking areas
  • access some of the garden
  • reduce risks in your home related to your impairment.
When can't we help

We are not able to help if:

  • your health condition is short term and expected to improve e.g hip replacement
  • you've been discharged from hospital in the last two weeks and the NHS made the discharge arrangements
  • you need a period of rehabilitation to overcome the physical, psychological and social problems caused by ill health, speak to your GP about a referral to Community Therapy
  • you need equipment for employment or education
  • where assessment is required for mobility equipment:
    • walking frames: ask your GP for a physiotherapy referral
    • wheelchairs: ask your GP for a referral to Wheelchair Services
  • you need only small pieces of equipment which you can buy from a range of independent local suppliers: pharmacies, DIY stores or on-line
  • have bought a mobility scooter, as it is your responsibility to ensure that you can store it, charge it and access your home with it.
How to help yourself

To find out about the care and support that will help you to live independently for as long as possible, you can fill out an Adult Care Referral Form which will give us a picture of your current state and needs.

If you're looking for ideas to adapt your home yourself or buy your own equipment, you'll find suppliers on Well Aware.

To see displays about how you can make your home more accessible, visit Bristol Home Independence Centre

If you are a council tenant, you can get certain things from the AH self-referral list, go to pdf Accessible Homes self-referral list (24 KB) or call 0117 9037292.

Examples of equipment or adaptations you would need to buy yourself are adapted cutlery or cups, lever taps and riser-recliner chairs.

You can also visit the Living Made Easy website which gives impartial advice, information and training on independent living.

You can sign up for Staying Steady exercises which could help you if you're feeling unsteady when moving around, are concerned about falling or are less mobile than you'd like to be.

How the referral process works

When we receive the referral we triage it and may phone you to assess the best way of responding.

After the phone assessment we may:

  • provide advice or tell you about options that will help you to help yourself
  • suggest another service that may be better suited to what you need
  • be able to arrange for equipment or minor adaptations that will help you to be able to remain independent in your home
  • offer an appointment at an Assessment Centre.

Sometimes you may need an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Occupational Therapy Aide (OTA) to visit you in your home.

Referral forms for adults (18+)

Only use these forms if the person you're making the referral for is 18 years old or over.

Fill in the form for the public if you want to refer yourself, your friend or an adult family member for the occupational therapy.

Go to the referral for the public

If you are a professional, you should fill in the occupational therapy referral for professionals.

Go to the referral for professionals

Make an Occupational Therapy referral for a child or young person

If you're a parent or carer and you want to refer a child under 18 years old for occupational therapy, you can do this on our Local Offer site.

If you're a professional and you want to refer a child under 18 years old for occupational therapy, you need to use our Make an Occupational Therapy referral for a child form.