Feature: Occupational Therapist month being celebrated by local OT

FALL RIVER: The month of October is designated in recognition of all those Occupational Therapists across the world.

OT Month is an annual opportunity for OT’s to both celebrate and promote their profession, something that one local OT is hoping to do.

MaryBeth Fleming, who calls Wellington home, owns and operates OT Health, a community-based practice with a clinic based out of Windsor. She also works with seven other locations across N.S.

“It’s a national recognition month aimed at bringing awareness to what services Occupational Therapists provide ” said Fleming inside a Fall River coffee shop recently. “It focuses on what our practice is, and the diversity services provided to our clients/patients that we see.”

She said any OT that is in public or private practice has the chance to promote their profession, and the national body, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists supports them in doing so. “They support those initiatives with information, a lot of articles on various websites that can be shared with fellow OT’s, etc.,” said Fleming.  OT’s are a self regulated procession whose practice is governed by a college, COTNS.

Fleming said one of the first questions an OT gets is what does an OT do, or what is the difference between what they do and what a physiotherapist does. If that question remains, bringing awareness to the profession is essential.

“This helps communicate why we are different, what we do, and why it’s different then a physiotherapist,” she said.as I interact with people and industry in the community I always attempt to share knowledge of the profession to enable a better understanding of what an OT does, what makes us unique. She said every individual she interacts with in her private practice she is providing a tidbit of information like fun facts.

Occupational therapy (OT) is a branch of health care that helps people of all ages who have physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. OT’s help with barriers that affect a person’s emotional, social, and physical needs. To do this, they use everyday activities, exercises, and other therapies

One initiative this month to highlight the important of mental health at the workplace. This initiative will take many forms and will likely take the better part of a year to complete. 

Fleming has worked for 28 years as an OT, 15 of those in pediatrics (kids) which involves helping them play and learn, those who have a fine motor skill or trying to get better at it.

Some other services that I have developed over my career include the following:

  • Functional Capacity evaluations
  • Cognitive Functional evaluations
  • Concussion rehabilitation
  • Future Cost of Care assessments
  • Transferable skills analysis and labour market surveys
  • Prolonged export rehab- rehabilitation from trauma
  • Chronic Pain rehabilitation and education
  • Treatment of Anxiety and depression – functional restoration rehabilitation
  • Ergonomic assessment and education 
  • Work site evaluation and return to work planning
  • Analysis of Psychosocially Health and Safety Work place
  • Pediatric rehabilitation
  • Home visits- fall prevention and maintaining functional independence or post illness or injury

She has a unique business model that supports many smaller physio clinics across Nova Scotia, anywhere from Cornwallis to Cape Breton. She has seven physio clinics she works with. But she also has her own clinic out of Windsor.

“OT’s are known for going to places, so I go into homes and workplaces,” said Fleming.

She sees herself as a resource for others, to provide them the knowledge to enable change within their life., change that is important and meaningful to them. 

“I look at what the person’s physical and/ cognitive abilities are so that they can return to work,” said Fleming. “I also support individuals who have mental health illness such as depression and anxiety or have experienced trauma and are trying to get back to a functional productive routine.”

Purpose is powerful and people are important.

For more information on what Fleming does, please contact her by phone at: 902-717-1957 or by email at marybethfleming50@gmail.com.