Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists assist people to overcome limitations caused by injury, developmental delay, illness (physical or mental), long term chronic conditions, and/ or ageing. Their goal is to assist each individual to move from dependence to greater independence, wellbeing and quality of life through the use of purposeful activity in everyday occupations. This might include looking after you – the patient, your family, working in a job, or doing recreational and community activities.

Occupational Therapists use analysis of physical, psychosocial, cognitive, environmental, spiritual, cultural and other factors to identify barriers to how a person participates in day to day activity. Some of these barriers may only be temporary (such as during pregnancy or after surgery) and others may be lifelong (such as living with a permanent disability, chronic condition, or persistent pain). 

Occupational Therapists seek to offer client-centred care that helps enables a woman to participate in the activities that hold value, meaning, and importance to their life. 

Occupational Therapy intervention might include:

  • Helping a woman resume her usual roles after major abdominal surgery for gynaecological cancer by educating her in modified methods for daily activities (eg. how to do chores whilst lifting is restricted).
  • Assessing an elderly lady’s home environment after surgery - to improve her safety and independence after a history of falls. 
  • Prescribing assistive equipment (such as a shower chair or toilet frame) - to help with functioning in self-care, leisure, work or other meaningful roles.
  • Assessing cognition, function, independence, and psychosocial barriers - to see how impairments can impact on recovery, discharge and daily activities.
  • Developing strategies and skills for a patient living with mental illness - to help them to participate in daily life. 
  • Setting up the home environment for an obstetric woman living with a disability - to help keep her and her baby safe at all times. 
  • Educating patients and carers about specific methods to assist with independence and function, especially those living with a long term illness or condition. Providing information or resources - such as disability services or equipment hire in the community.

Occupational Therapy Service

At King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH), the Occupational Therapist provides assessment and intervention for:

  • Obstetric patients
  • Oncology patients
  • Urology/Gynaecology patients.

The Occupational Therapist assesses and assists patients to identify and address any barriers to their independence and safe discharge. This is important for those needing to manage the impact of treatment (for example, oncology patients) and/or to optimise recovery and safety at home (post-surgery patients). Some essential assistive equipment may also be arranged. The therapist can provide advice regarding different ways to undertake activities to ensure women can participate safely and to the best of their abilities after their discharge. Some patients may need further services arranged to either help them for a short time in transitioning to home or for the long term.

For ante-natal patients, a home assessment may be undertaken by an Occupational Therapist to ensure the appropriate modifications or adaptions are in place for the mother and baby to return home to. A post discharge home visit can also assist with addressing specific mother and baby activities, such as adapted mother-crafting which might require specific aids to reach a greater level of independence. This is very important for some women living with a disability or long term condition who seek to achieve this important parenting role safely and to their best ability. Advice is given regarding modified ways to undertake parenting activities safely (eg. women living with Epilepsy who have seizures). The Occupational Therapist can also link women to other community agencies, such as the Department of Communities or the Independent Living Centre. 

The Occupational Therapy Department at KEMH provides state-wide consultancy for the specialist areas above, within the Women and Newborn Health Service. Please don't hesitate to contact the department for information or advice.

Contact us

Tel: (08) 6458 2870

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday, 9.00am to 5.00pm


King Edward Memorial Hospital
Ground Floor, B Block
Bagot Road
Subiaco WA 6009

Useful links 

Activity Co-ordination Service