What does an Occupational Therapist do?
As an Occupational Therapist (OT) or an Occupational Therapist Assistant, your role will focus on helping patients improve their ability to perform basic tasks at home and the workplace. Through the use of a well defined program, the patient will regain the ability to perform tasks requiring motor skills (through exercise and practice) and problem solving or reasoning abilities (through games and practice). The skills of an OT may be needed after a patient suffers an accident at work, as the result of growing old, after surgery, or in response to birth defects.
Repetition is critical to the process as these skills are often being relearned. Many patients will lose the ability to perform basic functions after an accident, but some were never able to fully develop them. It is similar to the way an infant or young child learns, but this comparison is frowned upon in the community, as it is damaging to the self-image of patients. One of the most important aspects of treatment is restoring the self-esteem of the patient to provide higher quality of life.
What do OTs and OTAs do?
The Occupational Therapist
The primary functions for an Occupational Therapist are supervisory in nature. They are responsible for providing an initial and periodic assessment of a new patient. Based on this assessment a therapy plan is developed. It will provide the metric by which progress is measured. The OT may be responsible for documenting the progress of the patient, but she is always required to evaluate it. Billing responsibilities fall to the OT, as well as reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers. Focusing on a specific type of therapy is encouraged, as the experience enables the practitioner to gain valuable expertise.
The Occupational Therapist Assistant
Without the help of the Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA), the OT’s job would be impossible. It is the job of the OTA to assist patients with the activities and exercises dictated by the treatment plan. They work hands on with the client, teaching skills such as moving from a bed into a wheelchair or the best way to stretch to regain mobility. They assess the application of the exercise, ensuring that the patient is correctly performing these activities. Their records are reviewed by the OT, and are instrumental to proper health care and billing.
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
The facilities requiring the service of both OTs and OTAs are vast. They may help in schools, hospitals, chiropractor’s offices, retirement homes, psychiatric institutions, and many other medical settings. Any situation dictating a need to restore normal physical or psychological functioning will also need the assistance of an OT to develop a treatment plan for rehabilitation. The OTA will be needed to implement the plan and help the patient apply the techniques required to successfully complete the program.
In what Practice Areas do Occupational Therapists work?
The practice areas requiring Occupational Therapy range far and wide. An Occupational therapist will help in rehabilitation through physical therapy. They may work in the mental health field, with pediatric doctors and geriatric specialists. The function of Occupational Therapy has become so important that it is even used as a form of prevention for various health maladies. Recent documents published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicate that practice areas utilizing occupational therapy are expected to continue growing. Certain occupational therapy schools specialize in different practice areas, so research the programs ahead of time to insure that you have the opportunity to focus on the practice area that fits your interest.
Studies are still underway, finding new applications for OT frequently. It is only expected that the role of the Occupational Therapist will become increasingly important as researchers continue to expand our understanding of its therapeutic benefits.
Read on to better understand the origins of the field and The History of Occupational Therapy.
No related posts.