So who are the professionals regularly involved in rehabilitation care? In Ontario, the Regulated Health Professions Act identifies a number of professions which must be regulated through “Colleges” or regulatory bodies which provide oversight and maintain records of their members. Through these Colleges it is possible to search for professionals in your area and ensure they are members in good standing. If concerns arise about the conduct of a professional it is possible for members of the public to lodge complains against them through the Colleges.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of the types of people who may provide care during rehabilitation, the most common are listed below. For further information on all regulated health professionals, you can visit the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario.
Physiotherapists attend to your body after an injury, helping you to increase your strength, coordination, and regain function. They have received a Masters degree in Physiotherapy and are regulated by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
Occupational therapists focus on helping you to complete the tasks of daily living after an injury, from brushing your teeth, organizing your home, or teaching you strategies or new ways of doing things. They have a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy and are regulated by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.
Psychologists and Psychological Associates provide assessment in many areas of brain functioning and may provide cognitive testing to determine how an injury has changed an individual’s thinking abilities. They may also provide counselling to address the emotional needs of the individual. Psychologists have received a Doctorate in Psychology while Psychological Associates have received a Masters Degree. Both are regulated by the College of Psychologist of Ontario.
Speech-Language Pathologists focus on developing skills around speech and communication, as well as assessing challenges in swallowing reflexes. They have received a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and are regulated of the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario.
Social Workers provide counselling to address the emotional needs of the individual or family unit. They must have a Bachelor or Master’s Degree in Social Work and are regulated by the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Rehabilitation Counsellors or Assistants provide support in various areas of rehabilitation and may provide long term support once the formal rehabilitation process is complete. They typically have a degree or diploma in an area of human services. They are not regulated professionals themselves but are typically provided with supervision or oversight by someone who is.
Often these services are coordinated through a Case Manager. These individuals assess the need for various services both at the public and privately funded level. We’ll talk more next time about navigating this system and how to find the services you need. Continue on to read Part 3!