What Do OTs Do?
Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Certified Occupational
Therapy Assistants (COTAs) help individuals who have experienced
illnesses, injuries or other disabling conditions learn how to:
- Dress and bathe independently
- Adapt their homes to be wheelchair accessible
- Manage stress
- Use their injured hands to work on a computer
- Plan a meal
- Balance a checkbook
- Use public transportation
Occupational therapy professionals use exercises, patient
education and advanced rehabilitation techniques to assist patients
with these activities. Some advanced techniques include:
- Ergonomic assessment
- Home modifications to prevent falls
- Wheelchair training
- Fabrication of hand splints
- Wellness programs to prevent injuries
Occupational therapy professionals work with patients with
illnesses such as:
- Head injuries
- Hand injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Mental health disorders
An occupational therapist may help a girl with cerebral palsy
learn to use her hands to hold a crayon. In another setting, an OT
may help a woman with arthritic hands adapt her kitchen so that she
is able to cook for her family. An OT can also teach a worker how
to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Occupational therapists work in a variety of treatment settings
such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, home health agencies
and nursing homes. They work with other health care providers such
as physical therapists, speech language pathologists, physicians,
case workers and nurses.
Occupational therapists are an important part of the health
care team since they help patients regain their abilities to do daily
activities after life-changing injuries or illnesses.
Occupational therapists reduce health care
costs by helping patients become more independent so they are
not as likely to be confined to a hospital or health care facility.