Occupational therapists in demand
“THERE is a large global demand for professionally trained occupational therapists, including in Malaysia,” says Prof Nathan Vytialingam, dean of the Perdana University School of Occupational Therapy ( PUScOT).
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists ( WFOT) human resource project report in 2014 stated that Malaysia had about 1,400 occupational therapists.
This number had to cater to the needs of 30 million citizens, which is one occupational therapist to about 21,000 people.
Occupational therapists cater to the needs of people from all walks of life, including children with challenging conditions, adults with physical and mental issues and elderly care.
With Malaysia approaching an ageing nation status, there will be a need to look into specialised care for the elderly.
There is also a demand for occupational therapists who specialise in the design of assistive devices such as gadgets to monitor the elderly and their movements.
According to Prof Nathan, there are many areas of practice that occupational therapists can specialise in, such as paediatric, geriatric or mental and physical care.
Occupational therapists provide services needed in hospitals, community- based rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, special education, industrial and commercial organisations, educational institutions and in private practice.
Occupational therapy processes are used as a guidance in managing clients’ therapy.
The cycle starts with an evaluation, which is a process of obtaining systematic and comprehensive data to understand the client’s problem, among others.
Next is the intervention phase, which facilitates and optimises a client’s performance followed by re- evaluation, which is crucial to compare performance before and after receiving therapy.
The occupational therapy degree at Perdana University is a four- year programme and has been developed with the consultation of local and international healthcare professionals.
The programme offers 1,360 clinical hours and fulfils the requirement of 1,000 hours required by the WFOT.
The programme includes two specialised modules – occupational therapy in elderly care and occupational therapy in sexuality and disability. These modules are offered only at PUScOT.
SPM or O- Levels graduates who are eager to pursue a career as an occupational therapist may enrol in the Perdana University Foundation in Science programme.
This one- year programme is a pathway designed for direct progression to the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy programme.
For more information, visit perdanauniversity. edu. my.
Perdana University offers a four- year occupational therapy degree programme that includes specialised modules.