About the Department of Occupational Therapy
The University of Haifa Department of Occupational Therapy is dedicated to both training excellent qualified Occupational Therapists and conducting research about the role of purposeful activity (occupation) and its efficacy in human life, in health and in illness.
The Department of Occupational Therapy, part of the Faculty of Welfare and Health studies, is located on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Established in 1987 the department is one of three Occupational Therapy educational programs in Israel and offers both bachelor and masters degree programs. Our Occupational Therapy educational programs are based on an eclectic approach including both natural and social sciences, the study of human activity from birth through old age, and the study of human disability and its treatment including physical, emotional, social and cognitive impairment. The Bachelor of Science program prepares its students to be entry level Occupational Therapists through a combined track of academic studies and clinical fieldwork experiences. The course of study lasts 3 and ½ years (8 academic semesters). The masters degree program, which is newly approved, will begin in the next academic year. The program will emphasize training in research theory and advanced clinical skills. Occupational Therapy - The Profession
The profession of Occupational Therapy began about 100 years ago in the United States. In 1946 Ms. Ethel Bloom-Benor founded the first Occupational Therapy unit in Israel at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. In 1947 the first Israeli Occupational Therapy educational program was established at Hadassah Hospital (Sachs & Sussman, IJOT 1995).
Practice-What do Occupational Therapists do?
Occupational therapy is a health care profession. Occupational Therapists treat people suffering from development deficits, physical injury or illness, aging, or psychosocial or emotional difficulties. Likewise, healthy people who wish to maintain their health and/or improve their quality of life may seek help from an Occupational Therapist. The unique contribution of Occupational Therapy to the field of healthcare is its emphasis on the importance of activities ("occupation"/"doing") as part of the process and outcome of healing. Occupational Therapy uses activities such as exercise, games, work simulation and many, many more to treat patients. The aimed outcome of these occupations ( "activities") therapy is to give individuals the skills to performance independently the activities that make up their lives. In addition, when normal function is permanently impaired Occupational Therapists give advice and build solutions to modify the individual's environment to allow maximal independence in the face of ongoing disability. More and more Occupational Therapists are working with the healthy population to maintain health, prevent injury and to improve quality of life. Intervention includes infant stimulation groups for well babies, the adaptation of work environments to prevent repetitive motion injuries (ergonomics), prevention of falling in the elderly population and more.
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
Occupational Therapists are employed in both healthcare and educational systems and can be found working in many different frameworks including: hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, rehabilitation centers, the military service, schools, pre schools, child development centers, old age homes, mental health centers, sheltered living arrangements, skilled nursing facilities, day care centers, private clinics and in patients' homes. In many situations Occupational Therapists work as part of a multi-disciplinary team and are specialists in certain areas of practice.