Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession rooted in both the medical and social sciences. It is designed for those recuperating from physical or mental conditions, disabilities or illnesses. It facilitates rehabilitation to help those patients recover, and develop or improve skills needed for daily life. Occupational therapy focuses on adapting to the environment for everyday life. The activities that make that possible are called “occupations.”
Occupational therapists usually have a master’s degree in their profession. They work with patients in a variety of settings, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and residences. All therapists are required to be licensed in every state. Therapists work with every age group from newborns to those in hospice care.
According to the Virginia Stoeffel, President, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), people who benefit from occupational therapy include those who are:
Occupational therapy follows a particular path. It begins with an initial session where the therapist confers with an individual (or his/her family) in order to assess the situation and determine goals. Then, the therapist creates and conducts a customized plan. This plan helps to improve the patient’s ability to perform his/her daily activities. As the therapy progresses, the therapist develops an evaluation to summarize outcomes and ensure the goals are being met. Adjustments to the plan can be made as desired.