Why don’t we get our patients to advocate for us?

by Danielle Hitch

I posted this on my Facebook page the other day, and got the usual likes and sarky comments …



But it got me thinking, why is it that there are still people who don’t know what we do. I think one of the answers to this lies in the way we market ourselves. So much of the brochures about ‘occupational therapy’ try to to serve multiple masters – telling our colleagues what we do (so they will refer to us) while also letting potential patients know what we can offer them. And, by and large, they don’t meet either of these goals particularly well.

The following video was released by the College of Occupational Therapists in the UK, and highlights how the people we serve could be our greatest advocates.

Occupational therapists provide cost effective solutions for mental health services

When you type ‘what occupational therapy did for me’ into Google, you only get hits with occupational therapists talking about what the profession did for them! So what are we doing this for? – ourselves or our patients/clients/whatever …

I don’t need another brochure which talks about ‘activities of daily living’ – I want a series of ads on tv/radio/online, where people who have received mental health occupational therapy tell us the impact it had on their lives. I want to cut through the inherent insecurity we still seem to have about ourselves and get to the bottom line – OT has the power to transform lives. This is our strongest marketing point, and we are totally missing it at the moment.


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