of the Occupational Therapist (OT) is to assist a patient in developing and/or
regaining skills important for independent functioning, health and well-being.
The OT works with the patient to improve or maintain their ability to perform
activities of daily living that are meaningful to that individual at home, at
work, and in the community. They assist patients and their families in efforts
to adapt to disruptions in lifestyle.
What Does the
Occupational Therapist Do?
function, including musculoskeletal system, joint function and limitations
and psychosocial factors affecting daily activities
- Performance of
basic activities of daily living (e.g.
dressing, bathing, and mobility) and community living skills (e.g. shopping, cooking, and
school, work and community environments to identify facilitators and barriers
to daily function, roles and responsibilities;
for adapted equipment, splints, and ergonomic modifications.
Treatment begins by developing an individualized plan to
achieve prioritized goals. Patients and
families are educated on how to adapt their environment, modify tasks, and use
equipment to promote independent function and help gain or maintain full
participation in self-care, daily home tasks, work, school and leisure or
play. Therapy may include principles of
energy conservation, joint protection, and stress management to minimize
fatigue, reduce pain and improve safe performance in daily activities. Splints and equipment may be provided to
improve or maintain function, reduce joint inflammation, prevent contractures
and decrease pain. When function is
reduced by loss of strength, endurance or joint motions, therapeutic exercises
may be incorporated to counter these problems.
The OT may also assist in identifying personal and community resources
to maximize independence. Other areas of
involvement may include program planning, validation, and research.
Where Does an
Occupational Therapist Work?
provides care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physicians’
offices, nursing homes, hospices, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies,
schools, industrial clinics, outpatient clinics, and private practice and a
growing number of non-traditional settings. A physician’s referral may be
necessary to evaluate or treat a patient.
What Kind of
Training Does an Occupational Therapist Have?
OT must have completed training at an accredited educational program, which is
at minimum a master’s degree level (as of 2007). All programs require a period
of supervised clinical experience. After graduation, individuals must pass a
national certification examination to become a registered Occupational Therapist.
OTRs may also pursue advanced certifications in specialties such as hand
therapy and environmental modifications, or pursue additional graduate
education to assume roles in leadership and research.
Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) has completed an Associate’s degree from
an accredited college, supervised clinical experience and passed the national
certification examination. The COTAs
primary role is to carry out the treatment plan that was developed by the
OTR. Occupational therapists and
Occupational Therapy Assistants are regulated in all states, with a number of
states requiring licensure to practice.
RHEUMATOLOGISTS AND RHEUMATOLOGY HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Learn more about rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals.
TO FIND A RHEUMATOLOGIST OR RHEUMATOLOGY HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
For a listing of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals in your area, click here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals at 2200 Lake Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30319 or (404) 633-3777 or email@example.com.
Updated April 2013 – ARHP Practice Committee
This patient fact sheet is provided for general education only. Individuals
should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical
advice, diagnoses and treatment of a medical or health condition.
© 2013 American College of Rheumatology