Innovation in Occupational Therapy

In this century, everything is changing rapidly. With the unpredictable changes occurring, many challenges arise in the society and among different practitioners. The rise of technology especially the internet has increased the access to information and knowledge base. These changes create new expectations, which require changes in both the personal and professional lives (Hinojosa, 2007). This requires innovation and evidence-based practice. Innovation brings about changes and the change, in turn, attracts more innovation. This process is the cause of the hyper-change in occupational therapy.

As Hinojosa (2007) puts it, occupational therapists cannot just wait and see. They must plan and then think fast. The world is so dynamic to depend solely on the existing structures and theoretical models. The dynamic and unpredictable change requires ones to plan and think fast. If 90 % of what one knows today will be irrelevant in five years, then it is hard to maintain professional competence. One would need to process so much information daily to keep up with the rapid change. Innovation is the only answer to the problem. Instead of concentrating on the traditionally methods and procedures based on theories, one incorporates new information and technology to come up with new procedures that are more effective.

The standards of practice for occupational therapists require personnel to treat colleagues and clients with respect, fairness, discretion, and integrity. Hinojosa (2007) argues that the practice has become routine than individualized. He argues that innovative practice requires intervention based on theory and attention to professional and personal relationships. This calls for collaboration with colleagues for effective interventions. In creating a collaborative relationship with colleagues, an occupational therapist would need to respect and have integrity while dealing with colleagues. In addition, the favor of efficiency, as opposed to effectiveness, is unfair to clients since it is a waste of time and resources. Both the therapist and the client should focus on effectiveness and no the completion of the process. However, for the process to be effective there is the need for innovation.

Interventions based on theory are very significant. Any intervention must be based on some evidence based on valid theories. The occupational therapists must be able to inform the client on the expected outcomes. Determining the outcomes can only occur by basing the intervention on a valid theory (Hinojosa, 2007).  By applying techniques of treatment as directed by valid theories, practitioners can apply different modalities based on the needs of the client. However, for innovation, the practitioners need to consider what lies beyond the modalities to ensure consistency with valid theories. The practitioners must look beyond the intervention models to generate new practice strategies.

In all aspects of life, there is the need for innovation. For occupational therapists to be effective there is need to incorporate innovation in education, professional organizations and in practice. Therapists cannot change a client rather they can create an environment for positive change to occur (Hinojosa, 2007). However, the nature of modern relationships makes innovation very hard. Basic interactions like sitting with clients also require innovative procedures and techniques. The rushed workplace interactions do not give room for innovation. An occupational therapist that has to deal with ten clients a day has to rush to be productive thus compromising effectiveness. Practitioners have to include innovation in the tight schedules and changing responsibilities. It is only fair to the clients if the practitioners embrace changes as they come and be innovative.

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