Occupational Therapy is a healthcare profession offering support to people with Physical, Psychological and Social problems to enable them to live life normally.

Occupational Therapy use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or Occupations, of Individuals, Groups, or Communities. This is an allied health profession performed by Occupational Therapists.

An Occupational Therapist is professional who “helps people across their lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational Therapists help people to do everyday activities (Activities of Daily Living) that they want to do and need to do when faced with illness, injury, and disability or challenging life events.

The key features of Occupational Therapy are:

  • We focus primarily on the person’s occupation. Occupational Therapists use the term ‘occupation’ to describe all the things we do to take care of ourselves and others; socialize and have fun; and work and contribute to our community/society.
  • Our occupations are the activities that fill up our days and that give meaning and a sense of purpose to our daily lives. Occupational Therapists understand how important these everyday activities are to all of us and are experts in enabling you to live life to the fullest despite challenges, limitations and disability.
  • In the case of children the focus will be on enabling participation in childhood occupations such as play and school and supporting development and emerging independence skills.
  • Occupational Therapists understand how illness, injury, disability or challenging life events can affect people’s ability to do the day-to-day things that are important for them and know how to support them to reach their maximum level of independence and autonomy.
  • Occupational Therapists are experts at assessing how different health conditions can affect people’s abilities and helping people to overcome or work around the difficulties that are affecting their daily occupations.
  • Occupational Therapy focuses on people’s strengths and therapy is always guided by the client’s preferences (or those of their family in the case of children).
  • Occupational Therapy is person-centred and helps people to live their lives in a way that is meaningful and satisfying for them by tailoring a programme that responds to their unique situation and needs.

Philosophical Underpinnings of occupational therapy

The basic assumptions of occupational therapy include the following:

  • Occupation has a positive effect on health and well-being.
  • Occupation creates structure and organizes time.
  • Occupation brings meaning to life, culturally and personally.
  • Occupations are individual. People value different occupations

How Occupational Therapy can help you

  • By helping you to do the everyday activities that are important in your life including self-care, leisure/play, work/education, social participation, sleep/rest.
  • By helping you live a fuller, more satisfying and meaningful life despite illness, injury, disability or challenging life events.
  • By maximizing your function, independence and daily participation in your life roles (child, parent, student, friend, worker, volunteer, etc).
  • By taking a client-centred approach that focuses on your abilities, goals and priorities.
  • By advocating for your human rights and access to services.

Brief information about Occupational Therapy Department at MTRH

The Department of Occupational Therapy falls under the Directorate of Mental Health and Rehabilitative Services.

Our aspirations

  1. To be a modern Rehabilitative Centre.
  2. To engage in Community Based Rehabilitation.
  3. Staff Capacity Building.

Human Capital Strength

The Occupational Therapy Department is manned by 36 therapists who are qualified to provide Occupational Therapy services that meet our customer expectations.

Units covered by Occupational Therapy

The units covered by the Occupational Therapy Department in the Hospital include:

Occupational Therapy Out-Patient

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Rehab Centre Private Wing Consultants Clinic (Wing I & II)

Surgical Wards

Orthopedic Wards

New Born Unit

Psychiatric Wards

Medical Wards

Pediatrics Wards

Neurosurgical Wards

Main Services Offered

We offer rehabilitation services in the following areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Physical dysfunctions
  • Pediatrics
  • Training
  • Speech and Language
  • Alcohol Drug Abuse
  • Sensory Integration
  • Designing
  • fabrication and fitting of therapeutic assistive devices such as assorted splints and pressure garments
  • Consultation


The Occupational Therapy Department provides direct outpatient care to patients ranging in age from newborns to young adults.

Patients are referred to Occupational Therapy by their Pediatrician (both internal and external) and in some cases, self referral. Our Occupational Therapy staff work with a variety of diagnoses and reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Care for traumatic or congenital hand injury
  • Difficulty with fine motor tasks (using their hands)
  • Difficulty being independent with self-care skills and engaging in leisure activities
  • Difficulty with pre-reading and pre-writing tasks: drawing, puzzles, coloring, building with blocks.
  • Need for adaptive equipment for access to daily routines and environments.

Our Occupational Therapists are great at working with children with various conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down ’s syndrome as well as Rickets.

Occupational Therapists who work with children look at the relationship between the child, their occupational roles (this include the task they need to perform in self-care, play and in school) and an array of external or environmental factors.

Occupational Therapists work with children with varying conditions, disability or impairment that affect their ability to perform everyday activities. These conditions include;

  • Neurological Impairment e.g. Cerebral Palsy
  • Acute medical, surgical & orthopedic condition e.g. upper limb fracture, burns
  • Physical disability/congenital e.g. Spina bifida, Down ’s syndrome
  • Delayed and regressed development milestones and other disabilities
  • Speech and language dysfunctions associated with disease etc
  • Sensory integration disorders e.g. Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (A.D.H.D), and postural defensiveness e.t.c.

Occupational Therapists work in partnership with the child, their parents and other important people in the child’s life such as the Doctor, Teacher and other professionals. An Occupational Therapist can help a child, their caregiver/patients and other people in the child’s life to:

  • Gain a better understanding of the child’s illness, disability or difficulties.
  • Promote and nurture the Child’s strength and self-esteem.
  • Learn ways to maximize the Child’s performance in everyday living.

Mental health

Psychiatric disability occurs when mental illness significantly limits an individual’s involvement in major life activities and roles, such as working, living and interacting with friends and family.

Occupational Therapists working in the mental health settings focus on enabling individuals to re-engage in meaningful occupations that may have been affected by the mental illness in question.

The role of Occupational Therapists in Mental Health is to assess clients through use of carefully selected purposeful and meaningful activities as well as in rehabilitating and preparing them for resettlement into the community besides restoring them.

Occupational Therapy promotes clients’ independence in all areas of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and to develop pre-vocational skills and job placement in readiness for integration into their occupations. Occupational Therapy services in Mental Health are aimed at redeveloping clients’ abilities in areas of independence in self care, work and leisure thus promoting self-confidence and self-esteem.

Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation

Occupational Therapy practitioners are trained to help clients to critically look at their everyday routine and examine how it affects their state of health and their ability to carry out what is important to them. Occupational Therapy helps clients to recognize how substance use affects them; it helps people explore and make those links, and move toward the occupational roles and patterns they want to achieve.  For example, if the role of parent is most important to a client, then he or she might learn how to re-parent in a way that boosts his or her parenting skills and simultaneously improves the skills needed to deal with the stress of parenting without drinking.

Occupational Therapy practitioners examine the habits and behaviors of clients that occur each day, throughout the week.  They show clients how their behaviors and thoughts revolve around drugs or alcohol and how they lose their identity as they lose the roles most meaningful to them.  Practitioners then construct or rebuild those occupational roles by determining what activities bring clients the most joy and sense of well-being without drugs or alcohol.

The likelihood of someone struggling with substance abuse coming into contact with an Occupational Therapy practitioner depends entirely on the recovery program.  Usually an Occupational Therapist will work with clients in a short-term rehabilitation program or a partial Hospital program. However, an enlightened consumer who has a full understanding of Occupational Therapy benefit from a range of services obtained from an Occupational Therapist specializing in Drug or Alcohol Abuse.

Occupational Therapy goes beyond helping clients to stop drug use; it prepares clients to fill whatever void the substance leaves behind with productive occupation.  “We want people to find the activities that are meaningful to them and at just the right level of challenge so that, as they redesign their lifestyle, they tap into those things that allow them to move into a state of well-being”.  This is where Occupational Therapy can really make a difference in helping people stay in long-term recovery.

Hand Therapy

Our hands are one of the most versatile parts of our body. They can be tender and accurate enough to paint a picture, thread a needle, or plait hair. They can also be strong and powerful enough to swing an axe and move heavy objects.

Hand injuries are an affront to our occupational identity, and as such, the role of Occupational Therapy in intervention cannot be understated.

Occupational Therapists are an integral part in the management of hand injuries; those that require surgery and those that don’t. An Occupational Therapist will help get you back to doing the things you love doing in the shortest time possible.

Physical Dysfunction

Dysfunction means loss of ability or reduction in capacity to perform daily tasks. This can be brought about by injury, congenital (present from birth) issues, respiratory/cardiac issues.

Occupational Therapists addresses the occupational dysfunctions the individual experiences in their environmental context (both physical and social environments).

The Occupational Therapist will then intervene either by finding ways to improve body functions, or to alter the person’s environment to conform to the reality of their physical dysfunction.

Occupational Therapists helps clients with Physical Dysfunction through Splinting and Therapeutic activities which include isometric and isotonic exercise so as to;

  • Achieve lost function
  • Prevent disability
  • Correct deformities
  • Position the joints
  • Reduce Edema
  • Improve function
  • Train on ADL, Leisure, Work, Play

Some of the conditions include:

  • Cerebro-Vascular Accident (C.V.A) or Stroke
  • Burns – scar management (pressure
  • Garments and Silicone Sheet Pads)
  • Pain Management
  • Bed sore Management
  • Hand injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries among others.

Innovative Services

The Department has grown to be the sole provider of the following innovative services in the entire Western Kenya Region:

  • Designing, fabrication and fitting of advanced splints such as dynamic splints for the rehabilitation of the hand.
  • Designing, fabrication and fitting of therapeutic pressure garments in the management of scars.
  • Utilization and use of silicone pads and gel in the management of post burns patients
  • Speech and Language, and Sensory Integration.

Scar management.

The service is provided by an Occupational Therapist who has specialized in the assessment and treatment of burns, injuries, surgery and diseases that have the potential to cause scarring.

Wounds caused by burns or skin grafting, trauma, surgery or disease that take more than 2-3 weeks to heal, can become hypertrophic and would then benefit from scar management intervention. The scar may also be itchy, tender or painful, and if over a joint may prevent full movement if the scarring contracts and tightens (develops a contracture).

Things that can influence occurrence of hypertrophic scars include: – wounds that have experienced infection or prolonged healing – the age of the patient, as well as their general wellbeing (co-morbidities) – the depth, size and location of the wound, a family history of raised scarring.

Speech therapy

  • Communication is of utmost importance to the human race. Humanactivity would come to a standstill if there is no communication. All human transactions become possible only through communication. In this regard, the holistic approach to management of clients at the occupational therapy department includes speech therapists as part of the team to enhance quality service delivery.
  • Speech therapy is the treatment of speech and communication disorders.
  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), often called speech therapists, are educated in the study of human communication, its development, and its disorders. SLPs assess speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral/feeding/swallowing skills. This enables them identify a problem and the best way to treat it.
  • Speech and communication disorders can occur at any point in a persons’ life. They may be manifest as delayed talking in children, stammering, or loss of speech after a brain injury such as stroke.

The speech therapy team at MTRH will assess individual client and find the best way to intervene to ensure that the clients’ occupation is not dysfunctional, and that the individual enjoys and participates in everyday roles and responsibilities.


Occupational Therapy Department trains students who are on clinical placement from various Institutions such as KMTC, Nursing Students from Moi University, University of Eastern Africa –Baraton, and Occupational Therapy Students from Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Operating Hours



Email: occutherapy@mtrh.go.ke

Telephone: 0532033471/2/3 Ext. 2038


Twitter handle @mtrhofficial

facebook page: Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital



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