Associazione Italiana per Terapisti occupazionale
Deutscher Verband der Ergotherapeuten e.V.
» Ergotherapie Austria
Bundesverband der ErgotherapeutInnen Österreichs
Association Suisse des Ergoterapeutes
Associazione Svizzera degli Ergoterapisti
Occupational therapy across all the German-speaking countries
is faced with similar challenges in the context of policies relating
to health care and to the vocation itself. Professionals in this field
are very much feeling the effects of the economic and structural changes
taking place in the health and social care systems: financial resources
becoming ever scarcer, the shift towards community-based practice,
demographic developments such as the growing proportion of elderly
people among the population and the foreseeable increase in
the time spent in working life, the rise in chronic illnesses
as well as the growing numbers of migrants are all placing
new demands on society. Health promotion and primary prevention
are inescapably gaining ever more in importance, including in
Occupational therapy work in the German-speaking area has
so far focussed on acute treatment/rehabilitation, and on
secondary and tertiary prevention. Occupational therapy
also has the relevant knowledge and skills however,
to play a significant role in health promotion and primary prevention.
Including health promotion and primary prevention in what
occupational therapy has to offer will benefit not only the
people needing help, but the health and social care systems too.
Services to provide occupational therapy ought therefore to be
set up in the health promotion and primary prevention sectors
of the German-speaking countries and should become an integral
part of their health and social systems.
The professional associations of Germany, Austria and Switzerland,
and representatives from South Tyrol set up a cross-border scheme
of cooperation in 2004 which has seen them exploring the potential
for development of what occupational therapy can offer. In order to
provide a professional and forward-looking response to the societal
changes and the shape of things to come, they initiated
a joint project designed to further develop occupational
therapy in the German-speaking countries.
The so-called "DACHS Project" was launched in December 2005 under the title
"Occupational Therapy 2010 - further development of the profession and of training
in the field of occupational therapy, particularly regarding health promotion
and prevention in view of the labour market and employability".
It was funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), with the project
applicant being "Claudiana", the Provincial College
for Health-Care Professions in Bolzano.
"DACHS" is the acronym used for the whole project and is formed from
the names of the regions involved: Deutschland (Germany),
Austria, Schweiz (Switzerland)
and Südtirol (South Tyrol).
This booklet is the core of the entire project.
It provides an up-to-date and forward-looking
overview of what occupational therapy has to
offer in the German-speaking area - core work,
core competencies, and current moves and advances,
such as future-oriented help and treatment structured
according to target groups.
This overview is designed to give policy-makers,
service providers in the health and social care sectors,
those responsible for teaching and training,
and occupational therapists themselves,
an understanding of the diversity and the potential of the profession.
It also sets out the future prospects for occupational therapy
with regard to the important contribution it can make in health
promotion and primary prevention.
This booklet brings to fruition one step of a vision to see a
truly achievable, extended range of help and treatment.
In addition to the German original, there is also this English
translation of the booklet and an Italian translation as well,
so that the debate on the further development of the job profile
can be encouraged in other countries too.
As women make up the majority of the people belonging to the profession,
this text uses 'she' throughout when referring to occupational therapists.
Otherwise, both the masculine and the feminine form may be used
for other health professionals and clients.