Edmonton Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation for First Responders

Helping You Get Back in Action

Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation for First Responders

You’re an incredible individual who has dedicated your life to the service of our community in our times of greatest need. You often sacrifice your health and safety for others. As a result, you may experience traumatic events and injuries, which can accumulate over time.

When you’re injured or experience mental distress, you may need an OT assessment and rehabilitation treatment that is sensitive to your individual character and to the demands of your occupation.

First responders frequently cope with:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • physical injuries and activity limitations
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sleep disturbances
  • difficulty regulating emotions (e.g. road rage)
  • difficulty with concentration and memory

First Responder Profile Example

46-year old firefighter on medical leave for chronic pain and mental health issues has been referred for occupational therapy to help with a rehabilitation program and possibly return to work.

We complete an occupational therapy assessment to identify problems and set goals. The problems may be back pain, sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety, road rage, irritability, decreased ability to lift and carry, and worrying about whether returning to work is possible.

This client’s goals are to:

  • Be able to work as a firefighter without getting worse
  • Be able to drive with better concentration and patience
  • Be more alert in the daytime and sleep at night with less interruption
  • To lift and carry 150 lbs without aggravating back pain
  • To increase physical fitness

Why Choose Action OT?


We have experience in working with first responders, which helps us understand your changing needs throughout your life.


Our first responder clients enjoy the process of working with our occupational therapists to help them rehabilitate and return to work. We are truly honoured to work with first responders and are inspired by your service to our community.


We also understand how your benefits work and what services will be covered. We can help you communicate with your case manager and other healthcare professionals. When appropriate, we can also help you with volunteer or work exploration, job coaching, and workplace ergonomic changes or accommodations, to the extent that these are possible.

How Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Can Help First Responders

Our occupational therapy treatments focus on decreasing the limitations associated with your chronic pain, fatigue, and depressed/anxious mood. We help you gain an accurate awareness and understanding of your abilities and limitations to participate in your valued life roles, possibly including returning to work.

Our occupational therapists work with you to monitor your physical and mental health progress and to identify the timing and appropriateness of gradually returning to work.

If our screening questionnaires show work-related risks that impact your health and safety, you may benefit from a 12-week rehabilitation program. This helps you structure your time and activities to help you manage your pain, stay motivated, and focused on your goals. You’ll benefit from goal setting, and a series of reflections and graded exposures to slowly achieve greater participation in meaningful and purposeful activities. Setting small goals or action plans on a weekly basis helps you take a more active role in your rehabilitation.

We provide pain neuroscience education to promote your understanding of the interaction between pain, stress levels, and depression. We also talk about the therapeutic use of activities to improve your sleep quality, manage your stress, and increase your self-confidence and activity levels.

We incorporate mindfulness and relaxation strategies into your daily routine. Even short daily meditations can calm your nervous system and reduce or modify your pain.

We may also recommend an 8-week supervised fitness program to gradually increase your physical conditioning and confidence in your abilities.

Get Back in Action

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