Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists can help you increase independence, safety, comfort, and personal satisfaction. In doing so, they can improve your sense of wellbeing and quality of life

Occupational therapy can help you increase independence, safety, comfort, and personal satisfaction. In doing so, it can improve your sense of wellbeing and quality of life.

The term occupation refers to fundamental tasks that people perform. These are tasks people ‘want to, need to, or we expect them to’ perform to care for themselves. We refer to these activities as activities of daily living and include: 

  • Basic self-care tasks such as showering and dressing 
  • Domestic activities such as cooking and cleaning 
  • Community activities such as shopping, working, or taking part in recreational activities

Cancer and its treatment can affect the ability to perform these tasks. It can also affect the ability to engage in important life roles. 

How occupational therapy can help you 

Occupational therapists will work with you, your family, and your treating team. They will help find and address issues you feel may be limiting your function.  

You may experience short or long-term side-effects from your cancer or its treatment. These effects can affect your ability to perform everyday activities, including: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Cancer related fatigue 
  • Pain or discomfort 
  • Altered strength, movement, or sensation 
  • Difficulty with your thinking. You may have difficulty with memory, concentration, and ability to plan tasks 
  • Changes to your vision

These side-effects may affect your ability to: 

  • Shower 
  • Dress  
  • Go to the toilet 
  • Bend and reach 
  • Managing tasks in comfort 
  • Recover your breath or energy after activity 
  • Walk, manage stairs, and get up from chairs, the toilet and/or your bed 
  • Position yourself in bed or chairs so that you are comfortable 
  • Drive with safet

Depending on your symptoms, the occupational therapist may supply advice relating to: 

  • Improving safety and independence with performing daily activities. This can include activities at home and in the community
  • Setting up your home to better support you and your family to manage cancer and its side-effects

Referral information 

Patients, their families, and carers can contact the Occupational Therapy team.  

A member of your treating team may think you should see an occupational therapist. If so, they will organise the necessary referrals for you. 

Occupational therapy contact 

  • Phone: (03) 8559 5220  
  • Fax: (03) 8559 5229  
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Occupational therapy resources