What Does An Occupational Therapist Do?

An occupational therapist is a person that enables individuals to overcome obstacles and become more prolific when they experience issues with everyday activities. These professionals do this in the way of assisting patients with illnesses, disabilities, or injuries to recover, develop, or to improve various skills that are required for working and daily living.

Much dedication and effort are involved in becoming a therapist. Yet for people that have a passion for helping people to live satisfying and productive lives, this career path is worth it.

Occupational therapists that also go by the name of OTs work with individuals from all age groups to overcome ailments or physical obstacles. The role of an occupational therapist is to help patients to return to a productive and engaging way of life.

This can involve anything from creating a safer living environment, conducting in-home assessments, or assisting patients with day-to-day tasks. OTs can help with cooking, getting dressed, gardening, moving around, using computers, driving, and doing school-related activities.

Occupational therapists are generally involved in the following:

  • Observe a patient doing tasks, reviewing the medical history of the patient, asking a patient questions.
  • Use the answers, medical history, and observations to assess the needs and condition of the patient.
  • Work on an appropriate treatment plan to accommodate the patient’s needs, setting out specific goals and activities for the patient.
  • Assist patients with disabilities with various tasks. This could include assisting older patients with memory problems or autistic children in different play activities.
  • Demonstrate exercises or activities that assist with relieving pain for patients with a chronic condition.
  • Educate the patient’s employer or family on how to care for or accommodate the patient.
  • Suggest special equipment. This typically includes eating aids, or a wheelchair. With these recommendations, the occupational therapist will also guide the patient on the correct way to use the equipment.
  • Record and assess the patients’ progress and activities for billing, evaluating clients, and to report to a physician or any other type of healthcare provider.

Patients that suffer from disabilities that are permanent like cerebral palsy, usually require assistance when it comes to performing day-to-day tasks. OTs are experienced in showing patients the correct way to use adaptive equipment. This could include knee or leg braces, eating aids, and wheelchairs. Patients are often able to function independently or to have more control over their living environments when they use these devices.