11 Unique Occupational Therapy Month Ideas

OTs have a lot of reasons to be proud of their profession. Occupational therapy is widely recognized as one of the most rewarding career paths, both personally and professionally. Not only do OTs help patients live more independent and satisfying lives, they also enjoy plenty of upward mobility, job stability and work-life balance.

Demand for OTs is expected to swell 26 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's significantly faster than other fields. OTs held about 105,000 positions in 2008, and the median salary was $69,630 in 2009. Although OTs can choose among many interests, demand for OTs specializing in elderly treatment will be particularly strong as baby boomers continue to retire.

Celebrated every April, OT Month is a great opportunity to show pride in your profession and educate the public about what you do. It's also a great way to recruit a new generation of OTs. Here are some creative OT Month ideas to help your organization spread the word about this satisfying career path.

Educational OT Month Ideas

One effective way to promote the OT profession to the public is by offering an educational service, such as live presentations or patient handouts. Identify target audiences, such as the elderly, parents and students, and reach out to organizations that serve those groups. Explain to the organizations why you'd like to distribute educational information and why it's of interest to that particular group.

Presentations should be led by members of your staff with strong public speaking abilities. If you're distributing patient handouts, make sure they look professional and contain information on how people can learn more about the topic.

You'll no doubt want to include your organization's contact information and logo on handouts and during presentations, but resist the urge to be overly promotional. Remember, the goal of OT Month is to shine a positive spotlight on the profession as a whole — not to advertise your organization.

Here are a few educational OT Month ideas:

  • Make presentations at local PTA meetings about the long-term effects of wearing heavy backpacks and bags. Discuss proper backpack usage and how to choose, lift and carry various types of bags, including purses, suitcases and backpacks.
  • Distribute OT month fact sheets to referring hospitals and medical practices. Include information on the role of OTs in patient care, where OTs work and how to find an OT in your area. Be sure to tailor OT month fact sheets for various audiences. For instance, distribute handouts at senior centers and geriatric medical practices on how occupational therapy relates to geriatric populations.
  • Create a YouTube video in which OTs from your facility describe how occupational therapy helps people live independently and comfortably.
  • Make presentations at senior centers on topics such as driver safety, fall prevention, coping with arthritis and gadgets that make it easier to cook and perform daily chores.

Creative Occupational Therapy Month Events

Hosting occupational therapy events engages the public and builds awareness about the important work you do. Consider partnering with schools, community groups, rotary clubs and medical organizations to host the event.

Targeted advertising will help you promote your event and maximize attendance. Building a Facebook page with information about the event is another low-cost marketing tool. In addition, you'll want to alert the local media several weeks before the event by sending out press releases.

Here are a few ideas for Occupational Therapy Month events:

  • Get involved with a community service that promotes health and wellness, such as helping those with disabilities or raising money for research on chronic disease management.
  • Invite pediatric clients and siblings to participate in a coloring or drawing contest that showcases OTs on the job. Display the entries around your facility and promote the winners on your organization's website or social media sites.
  • Recognize OTs in your community for outstanding achievements, public service and commitment to patient care. Arrange a ceremony to honor those OTs and send a press release to the local media.

Occupational Therapy Month Ideas for Celebrating Your Staff

OT Month also offers the opportunity to thank your staff for a job well done. Managers may want to involve their staff in the planning process to ensure the recognition activity makes employees feel valued and engaged. Since employee events help with recruitment and staff retention, be sure to save photos and testimonials about the OT Month celebration to use in your recruitment materials.

Here are some OT Month ideas for boosting employee morale:

  • Host a healthy luncheon for the OT staff. Consider choosing a theme, such as Mediterranean cuisine, tropical fare or French fusion. If you're on a shoestring budget, consider hosting a potluck and recipe exchange. Staff will love learning new foods to prepare when entertaining friends and family.
  • Give staff the gift of OT spirit wear to don throughout the month of April. Popular items include graphic tees with witty OT slogans, hats, lunch bags and totes. Browse OT Month products at www.advancehealthcareshop.com.
  • Host an Adaptive Ice Cream Social where staff makes ice-cream sundaes and fruit salad using various adaptive devices. Take pictures of the event, and display them in the employee break room.
  • Host a game day with word searches, trivia and a "What device is this" matching game. Offer enticing awards to the winners such as iPads or gift certificates to a local spa.

Whether you're hosting an event, making a presentation or recognizing your staff, your OT Month celebration should reflect the passion OTs feel for their profession and their commitment to patient care. For more OT Month ideas, go to www.advanceweb.com/ot.