Finland National OT News Archive

News from Finland, 2016

Finnish  Association of  Rehabilitation  Professionals new  organisation  established to  secure  stronger safeguarding  for  Occupational Therapists 

At the end of the year 2015  the  Finnish Association of Occupational Therapists,  TOI  founded a new roof association together with the Finnish  Association of  Physiotherapists  (FAP). The new organization is called the Finnish  Association of  Rehabilitation  Professionals. Both  TOI and  FAP  remain independent associations who bring together the two professional bodies and students.  The roof association provides the safeguarding and legal services for the individual members of  TOI  and FAP.  The presidents of the two associations completed an enormous amount of work in getting everything ready for the new association to be approved by both founding associations’  members at their Annual General meetings in  November 2015. TOÍs  president,  Kristina Holmberg, worked hard in negotiations and strategic work and she is to be congratulated.

The organisational change was needed in the fast-changing labour world and will benefit TOI ́s  members,  especially with lobbying Occupational Therapy.  Finnish  Association of  Rehabilitation  Professionals is able to guarantee the promotion of rehabilitation and also occupational therapy profession nationwide.  This made headlines regarding labour unions in Finland.  TOI has now better opportunities to have a  say about how occupational therapy resources can be used and how the profession can be included in different national plans in the health and social care sector.

The new Association began its work at the start of the year  2016  and it is an affiliate of Akava, a trade union confederation for those with a university,  professional or other high-level education.  Akava  is  a  confederation that  appreciates  competence, expertise  and  the individual  identity  of each  affiliate.  As an  Akava  affiliate, Rehabilitation  Professionals  will have  access  to the  meetings  of  the  Akava Board  and  Committees. The entire rehabilitation branch will gain importance through the new expert union becoming a partner to the existing affiliates and also a member of Akava’s TerVe network,  which brings together the associations of health care professionals.

The intention of  Rehabilitation  Experts is to promote the maintenance of working and functioning abilities as well as rehabilitation as core aspects of Finnish health policies while also strengthening the supervision of interests in the field.    “We will now have an excellent foundation for this type of broad advocacy since, as Akava members, we will be able to make rehabilitation an ever more fundamental structural aspect of our welfare society”,  says Tiina  Mäkinen,  Chair of  Rehabilitation  Professionals. Kristina  Holmberg, Vice Chair of Rehabilitation Professionals, points out that the joining of forces and competence of rehabilitation experts will benefit society at large.  “To draw full advantage from their competence in terms of health policies and economy,  it is essential that rehabilitation professionals are viewed as equal with other experts  involved  in treatment  and  care processes.  This  will be  our  target”, says  Holmberg.

News from Finland, Autumn 2012

According to Valvira’s*1 register, there were 2518 occupational therapists in Finland in the end of 2011. Every year about 100 new occupational therapists graduate from Universities of Applied Sciences. In the spring applications of 2012, occupational therapy was one of the most popular subject in Oulu, along with paramedic studies, physiotherapy and the social field.

The University of Lapland granted PhD Anna-Liisa Salminen the first status of docent in rehabilitation and occupational therapy on 1.3.2012. The Faculty of Social Sciences saw that the status of docent was appropriate since PhD Anna-Liisa Salminen has a profound knowledge of OT.

In Finland, a colloquium has been created for anyone who is interested in the scientific development of occupational therapy. The colloquium allows participants to have scientific and academic discussions about occupational therapy, and get peer reflection and cooperation. The colloquium hosts online meetings once a month as well as two additional meetings in 2012.

Occupational therapy has also been recognized in a consensus dictum regarding the elderly, published by The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim and Academy of Finland. In the dictum, the subsequent is stated:

– In stroke rehabilitation, a multiprofessional team is need, which may include an occupational therapist.
– The amount of occupational therapy among the elderly in home care must be increased.*2
– In all health care and social care, including OT, there must to be professional specialized in geriatrics and gerontology.
– A Finnish version of the Consensus dictum can be found

*1Valvira = National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health

*2“Fysioterapian ja toimintaterapian määrää sekä ravitsemusosaamista on lisättävä.” source:, page 12 section 2,7.

News from Finland, September 2011

In Finland there has been published a new book for occupational therapy students written by Tiina Hautala, Tuula Hämäläinen, Leila Mäkelä and Mari Rusi-Pyykönen. It is also a valid handbook for occupational therapist. The book consists of chapters for example on motivation, the social and sociocultural meaning of occupation and the therapeutic function in groups. Theoretical frames of reference are explained through practical examples. The publisher of the book is Edita. The writers have also worked in collaboration with the Finnish Association of Occupational Therapists (TOI).

Finnish healthcare is creating a national electrical archive of patient documentation. Unified system demands unified titling that has been agreed on nationally. The Finnish Association of Occupational Therapists has published a recommendation for use of the classification of occupational therapy in health care documentation.

The Finnish Association of Occupational Therapists has revised the ethical guidelines for occupational therapists. The ethical guidelines are categorized under four headlines; relationship between the therapist and the client, collaboration between OT´s and other professions, the professional development of OT`s and occupational therapy as a part of society.

News from Finland, Spring 2011

Two new Occupational Therapy (OT) publications in Finland.

The Finnish Association of OT (TOI) has recently published an electronic book of guidelines for good OT assessment practices. Itcovers nationwide terminology and ethics, and gives guidelines for the OT assessment process. It will serve both professionals and customers
alike. TOI will also publish an occupational therapy study book in co-operation with Edita (a Nordic communication service). The bookwill be launched in April 2011 during the bi- annual TOI conference in Tampere.

Finnish OT knowledge spreads towards diverse expert organizations.

A recent nomination was for Special OT Tuula Talvinko. She started ascoordinator in TEKES (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and
Innovations), for the program of innovations in social and healthcare services. The program aims to renew Finnish social and healthcare
production processes, improve the availability of services and their quality and effectiveness and promote new business opportunities. ‘
OTs are also active in an innovation program called Vake-hanke with Kela (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) in research and
development for good rehabilitation practices for severely handicapped people. For example OTs in neuropediatric units of two University
hospitals in Helsinki and Turku have surveyed Cerebral Palsy assessments and rehabilitation in multiprofessional teams (child
neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, neuropsychologists, nurses and social workers) and
selected the most valid outcome measures based on the available evidence, expert opinion and ICF framework.

A new Toimia database has been released in Jan 21st 2011.  is a new national open database and specialist network.
The database contains recommendations for measures and assessment
methods, which  have been analyzed and described for their key

News from Finland, Spring 2010

In October 2009 the International Occupational Therapy day was held for the 3rd time in Finland. The event has been more popular every year. This time for The International Occupational Therapy day TOI released press information about occupational therapy in Finland and there was also a comic about occupational therapy in the country’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (

The objective of TOI in year 2010 is to develop its functions in different ways. There are already three Finnish books about occupational therapy and one about the history of occupational therapy. The fourth is published in spring 2010; it’s about measurement in practise; what is the good way to do occupational therapy measurement in Finland. The first Finnish textbook about occupational therapy is also under work; it will be published later this year.

TOI is also finding ways how to start specialist groups and for this the international affairs group made a questionnaire to COTEC delegates.

This year it will be 40 years from the beginning of occupational therapy education in Finland and events to celebrate this are being planned for next autumn. So far the occupational therapy education has been provided in seven different universities of applied sciences, during spring 2010 a new preparatory course on occupational therapy is being provided. This course enables the participants to apply for occupational therapy program starting in autumn 2010. The education is thus provided in two parts of which the preparatory part lasts six months. The course in question is labour market training for health care and social services professionals who are unemployed or under the threat of becoming unemployed. The aim is to improve the participants’ chances of finding employment after the training.

The negotiators in the municipal sector have been able to reach common ground concerning new collective agreements. The new agreements are for two years. The agreements do not include any pay rises common to all. Instead, certain groups, such as catering, cleaning, social and kindergarten employees, will receive (from 1 February) on average, an 0.8 per cent pay rise. For occupational therapists the rise is 1,3%. On September 1 another rise (0.7 per cent) will be awarded locally for purposes that improve results at work units. These rises have the effect of slightly equalising pay gaps as, in the previous bargaining round, nurses and some other health care employees received higher pay rises than the others.