Occupational Therapy What Does It Entail
Occupational therapy to improve daily living helps people of all ages live more fully, and cope with health issues, by helping them learn new ways to perform activities they find meaningful. OTs help patients overcome obstacles that can lead to depression and a sense of helplessness, as well as manage chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis. The career requires strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to collaborate with other healthcare professionals. Those who have a love for helping others, are patient and empathetic to their clients’ high and low points, as well as the many obstacles they may face along the way, can thrive in this profession.
OTs work in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, community centers, home health agencies, shelters and free clinics. Many also travel to the homes of their clients, visiting them in their own environment and assisting them with tasks such as bathing or cooking.
In addition to providing treatment in a clinical setting, some OTs are involved in advocacy and research initiatives. They can also teach classes and supervise students pursuing an OT degree. Some therapists choose to move into management roles or even open their own practices. Others go on to complete a doctorate program and become professors in their field.
As the baby boomer generation continues to age, demand for OT services will continue to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OTs are expected to see much faster than average job growth over the next decade.
While the majority of OTs work in health care facilities and community organisations, some are employed by private companies and public sector organisations such as education, housing, police and fire services, as well as voluntary organisations. Some also have their own independent practices, and can offer a flexible schedule for those looking for a part-time role or those caring for loved ones at home.
Regardless of the setting, all OT practitioners must be able to understand the unique challenges that their clients are facing. They must be able to provide treatment tailored specifically to each individual, and help them engage in activities they find meaningful and fulfilling.
The scope of the field is wide, and OTs can be found working with children who have autism or motor skill difficulties; those recovering from an injury such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or limb loss; and senior citizens struggling with the transition to aging in place.
Occupational therapy is a highly respected profession with an excellent reputation for providing compassionate care to all who need it. The best OTs have the skills and training necessary to deliver a holistic approach to rehabilitation, incorporating physical, social, and emotional needs. The best OTs are dedicated to their clients’ progress and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. They are aware of the many injustices that exist in the world around them, and how these issues can impact their client’s occupational engagement.