What does an Occupational Therapist do?

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays.

Jobs Roles

  • Complete and maintain necessary records.
  • Evaluate patients' progress and prepare reports that detail progress.
  • Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Select activities that will help individuals learn work and life-management skills within limits of their mental or physical capabilities.
  • Plan, organize, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, institutional, or community settings to help rehabilitate those impaired because of illness, injury or psychological or developmental problems.
  • Recommend changes in patients' work or living environments, consistent with their needs and capabilities.
  • Consult with rehabilitation team to select activity programs or coordinate occupational therapy with other therapeutic activities.
  • Help clients improve decision making, abstract reasoning, memory, sequencing, coordination, and perceptual skills, using computer programs.
  • Develop and participate in health promotion programs, group activities, or discussions to promote client health, facilitate social adjustment, alleviate stress, and prevent physical or mental disability.
  • Provide training and supervision in therapy techniques and objectives for students or nurses and other medical staff.
  • Design and create, or requisition, special supplies and equipment, such as splints, braces, and computer-aided adaptive equipment.
  • Plan and implement programs and social activities to help patients learn work or school skills and adjust to handicaps.
  • Lay out materials such as puzzles, scissors and eating utensils for use in therapy, and clean and repair these tools after therapy sessions.
  • Advise on health risks in the workplace or on health-related transition to retirement.
  • Conduct research in occupational therapy.
  • Provide patients with assistance in locating or holding jobs.
  • Train caregivers how to provide for the needs of a patient during and after therapy.
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