Estonia National OT News Archive

News from Estonia, 2017

The Estonian Association of Occupational Therapists (ETL) is an organization that is responsible for the promotion of the occupational therapy profession in Estonia; it also represents the interests of occupational therapists. A new board, consisting of six specialists with different tasks within the organization, was elected this summer. Occupational therapy is a relatively new profession in Estonia, with only 122 graduated occupational therapists in the country. Therefore it is imperative to promote the necessity, value and benefit that it brings to society, to high-level governmental institution and prioritize the profession in primary healthcare, says the president of ETL Terje Bachmann. As there is a high demand for occupational therapists in all segments of rehabilitation services in Estonia and in order to offer high-quality services, it is essential for Estonian Association of Occupational Therapists to have constructive cooperation between the Association, universities and governmental institutions.

News from Estonia, 2016

Estonian Association of Occupational Therapists celebrates its 7th birthday this spring. As a fairly new profession, the number of members in the Association is not high. However, more than 2/3 of the OTs in the country are members. This spring, we welcome 14 new occupational therapy graduates from Tallinn Health Care College. As an important milestone, it has to be noted that the 100th occupational therapist diploma will be issued this year in Estonia.

To increase the availability of occupational therapy, at the end of 2015 the association applied for a new service (occupational therapy in the everyday environment) to be added to the national health insurance fund benefit list. The answer is expected at the end of the year.

Another very expected policy development is related to assistive devices. Occupational therapists are involved in a workgroup exploring the opportunities to provide PTs and OTs with the rights to issue assistive devices. Although the discussions are in the early stages, the involvement itself can be considered as an important matter.

In February, a seminar was held to discuss communication with the patient’s family. The topic was initiated by an OT working with children.

In April, an annual fair was held by Tallinn City Board of Disabled People. Our association had the opportunity to provide information about OT and OT’s services.

As a new profession, occupational therapy in Estonia needs more support from the policymakers. To determine who are the stakeholders, this year’s summer seminar’s suggested topic is “Power, responsibilities and resources”. Workshops will be held to explore the organization of the service in terms of national health insurance, social security and entrepreneurship.

News from Estonia, 2015

In 2015 occupational therapists were involved in following clinical guideline teams: “Management of patients with alcohol-use disorders” and “Stroke rehabilitation”.

In May the NA’s annual general assembly elected the new management.

The summer seminar was held in Tartu, Southern-Estonia, and took place in August. The program consisted of presentations on mirror therapy, spasticity and visual perception framework. The afternoon was filled with much needed chatting. As being a relatively small NA (under 100 members), it was great to welcome almost 20 OTs to the event (also two children and a cat were present).

In the beginning of November, International week of Tallinn Health Care College incorporated an afternoon of presentations from OT-s in Estonia, Latvia and Armenia. With the presence of teachers, practitioners and students from Estonia and elsewhere, the World OT Day was celebrated with a themed cake.

At the end of the year, an application was submitted to add a new service “Occupational therapy in everyday environment” to the national health care fund’s price list. In Estonia, the current medical rehabilitation service covers OT only in the hospital setting (in-patient and out-patient units).