Latvia National OT News Archive

News from Latvia, 2017

The celebration of World Occupational therapy day in Latvia is expanding with every year. This year various activities were carried out reflecting the daily work of occupational therapists. OTs informed society about important topics in OT – ergonomics, the principles of joint protection, balance in everyday life, assistive technology, proper sitting positions, etc. There were lots of opportunities to participate in activities for everyone – staff members, patients/clients, as well as for those who are interested in therapeutic activities and wanted to understand OTs work through practical experience. Here are just some examples of what we did. More information can be found here:

Outpatient center “Veldre” of Riga Psychiatry and Narcology Centre organized open door days where patients and staff members were informed about importance of occupational therapy and had the opportunity to participate in a group activity of making sensory bags that positively influenced communication, facilitated the successful cooperation of participants, occupational therapists and students. 

In Rehabilitation center “Līgatne” seniors were involved in leisure time activities organized by OT students, to reduce imbalances in daily life activities. 

In National rehabilitation centre “Vaivari” OTs informed employees about OT intervention purposes and methods, promoted technologies and methods used by OTs to help patients in gaining independence in daily activities. There were also different creative competitions between staff members carried out using assistive devices (like sock aids, reachers) and evaluation methods, for example testing the muscle strength. 

In resort rehabilitation center “Jaunķemeri” various educational activities took place throughout the week, including seminars about proper sitting and back pain, occupational balance and joint protection which were led by OTs and OT students. 

Educational seminar “Joint protection for active living” was also organized in Clinical center “Gaiļezers” of Riga East University Hospital and led by OT Vita Kurganova. There was an opportunity to hear about the event and see an interview with Vita on the TV. 

OTs at Vidzeme Hospital Rehabilitation department informed society about how to properly carry out work routine and what kind of technical aids can be used to improve quality of life. OTs also consulted children and teachers in several local schools about applying principles of ergonomics daily. 

In cooperation with OT study program in Riga Stradiņš University several activities were carried out: there was a possibility to join OT4OT online conference and student organized workshops. 

Besides all on-site activities, everyone could learn about occupational therapy profession and World OT day activities from newspapers, social media, television broadcasts and radio! For example, president of LAOT Ieva Jēkabsone participated in live radio broadcast, where she told about OT and activities organized by Latvian OTs in frames of World OT day. Also, vice-president of LAOT Zane Liepiņa gave an interview in newspaper about “Versatility and diversity of Occupational therapy”. 

These and many more activities helped us raise the awareness about importance of OT. The board of LAOT thanks each and every OT who gave effort and took part in celebration of World OT day! 


News from Latvia, 2016

Latvian Association of Occupational Therapists (LAOT) was established in 1996 and thus celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. On the occasion the two day conference “New Technologies – challenges and opportunities for occupational therapy practice in Latvia” was held on August 27-28, 2016 in Resort Rehabilitation Center “Jaunkemeri”, Jurmala, Latvia. 

The conference was opened by Zane Liepina, vice-president of LAOT and representative of the conference venue.
The first part of the conference was dedicated to the overview of the 20 years of OT in Latvia. Lolita Cibule, the first and long-term president of LAOT, Signe Tomsone, the dean of Faculty of Rehabilitation as well as Inara Kalnina, the first and long-term head of the Occupational therapy study program (both from Riga Stradins university) shared their memories about development of OT as a profession in Latvia as well as vision for the future. 

LAOT is extremely honored that Marilyn Pattison, the president of WFOT as well as Anu Söderström, VP Administration of COTEC could find the possibility to participate in the event. Marilyn Pattison was connected via skype presenting “World Federation of Occupational Therapists and the global health agenda – towards 2025″, whereas Anu Söderström participated in person presenting “Occupational therapy in Latvia and LAOT as a part of OT community in Europe”. 

According to the theme of the conference, the invited speakers reported both industry and user expertise in the field of technologies. Among them were representatives from organizations for persons with disabilities, academics, entrepreneurs and other experts.
The first day ended with a social evening – celebration which provided a nice opportunity for meeting the colleagues, remembering the study years, restoring contacts and making new ones. 

The second day program along with plenary sessions was enriched by 3 parallel workshops that provided the opportunity to engage in discussions according to each participant’s particular professional interests. During both days of the conference participants were offered a possibility to attend the exhibition of companies and organizations, participate in poster presentations, see the traveling exhibition of Latvian Sports museum „Optimist. Paralympic Champion – Aigars Apinis” (who recently became a four-time Paralympic champion, winning the gold medal in the discus throw, in Rio 2016), as well as participate in a guided tour through resort rehabilitation centre „Jaunkemeri”. 

The board of LAOT is grateful to everyone who supported the event in any way and is looking forward to many excited years for OT in Latvia to come.