The Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists (SAOT) is a voluntary, non-regulatory body that provides networking and education opportunities for its members. SAOT advocates for occupational therapy, delivers membership services, and promotes occupational therapy to Albertans. Dedicated to the well-being of all Albertans, SAOT is the vehicle to drive practice, shape capacity and grow the profession of occupational therapy in Alberta by bridging research, practice, advocacy and policy.
This website resource project focuses on harm reduction for individuals with chronic pain-associated opioid use, although it also has value for people with pain beyond that subgroup. Through this resource website and supportive messages and tools, we hope that participants will gain insights to assist them to use individualized pain management goals and action plans.
We provide practical tools that will help individuals with pain and their families. Drawing from the skill-set of occupational therapists, multiple non-pharmacological strategies are included, along with client stories and tips for improved self-management skills. Resources are provided to help to locate relevant pain management and addiction services in Alberta. We encourage appropriate use of pain medications when they are effective, and in some cases, a reduction of medications could be indicated, if they are no longer supporting optimal function.
SAOT was one of 29 organizations approved for an Opioid Public Awareness Grant for Communities issued by the Government of Alberta.
SAOT wishes to acknowledge the following contributors in the development of this resource:
Clinical Occupational Therapist
Bonnie Klassen is a clinical occupational therapist with 21 years of experience in a variety of settings, community, hospital based, urban and rural. She currently works in two rural Alberta chronic pain clinics and in private OT practice in Edmonton, Alberta. Bonnie has participated in writing a Canadian position statement on the OT Role in Pain Management and has presented on pain-related topics at conferences, workshops, and to OT students.
She experiences chronic bilateral ankle and neck pain and continues to strive to be physically active, even if there are some limitations or modifications. She also practices mindfulness meditation to assist with acceptance of her pain and to help her cope better.
Executive Director, SAOT
Robin has served in her role as Executive Director for SAOT for ten years. She is a communications specialist and has worked with several non-profit organizations in the health sector over the last 25 years.
Occupational Therapy Student
Cassandra attends the University of Alberta and is completing her final year in occupational therapy through the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Cassandra assisted with this project as a student intern, and is acknowledged for compiling the Resources section of this web site.
About the Opioid Public Awareness Grants for Communities Program
The opioid crisis is causing an alarming and growing number of emergency department visits and deaths in Alberta. It affects communities, families and Albertans from all walks of life. Anyone can be affected by the harms of opioid use and the stigma around drug use is a key barrier that prevents people from accessing services.
To raise awareness and educate Albertans about the opioid crisis, Alberta Health provided $1.4 million in grants to 29 community organizations to fund projects that use unique and creative approaches to:
• reduce stigma associated with opioid use
• point people to where they can get treatment or overdose reversal kits
• educate families, friends and neighbours on how they can potentially save a life
Read more about the funded projects here.