Occupational therapists are the specialists who find out new and easy ways for people going through physical, mental, and emotional trauma so that they can overcome the problems and lead a normal, satisfying, and happy life. Therapists not only provide them appropriate care and support to combat against their problem but also help them doing daily tasks like washing, dressing, cooking and eating. They examine and treat patients of all ages, from children to elderly people suffering from serious disorders or adverse situations.
Duties of an Occupational Therapist
You can find occupational therapists working with a wide range of people with different requirements. Their main aim is to determine what the patient wants and what they should do to give them a comfortable lifestyle. After analyzing the needs, they prepare best treatment plans for them.
Different roles and responsibilities carried out by an occupational therapist include: –
- Examining the condition of patients and analyzing their needs.
- Planning treatment and providing it to the respective patient.
- Keeping an eye on their medical condition.
- Reviewing progress and upgrading the prescribed treatment as per the requirement.
- Educating the patients’ family and employer about their needs and how to provide adequate medical care to them.
- Providing customized services as per different disabilities of the patients.
- Examining the home and workplace of the patients. Making potential changes as per the health requirement of their client.
- Installing the required equipment in the classroom to help children with disabilities. Also, providing guidance on how to use the special equipment.
- Taking exercise sessions so that patients can get relief from chronic pain.
- Helping people to return to work.
- Training the aspirants of an occupational therapist and supervising their work.
- Organizing rehabilitation groups for the clients and carers.
- Preparing reports and attending multidisciplinary case meeting to decide and review the continuing treatment.
- Help children participate in school activities.
- Taking sessions on time management, anxiety management tricks and techniques.
- Perform administrative tasks like making phone calls, maintaining records and case notes.
Working Hours of an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists mostly work for office hours from Monday to Friday. But, there are some posts in mental health community services, accident and emergency services, acute hospitals, and private practice where they need to work on weekends, holidays and evenings as well. However, their job is flexible in terms of part time, career breaks, and other working arrangements.
Where Do OTs Work?
You can find occupational therapists working in different types of clinical environment like hospitals and community settings. Occupational therapists employed by the local government mostly work in social service units and the community settings. They also visit people at home to analyze their requirements.
Here is the list of different places of employment for occupational therapists:
- Colleges and Universities
- Residentiary and nursing homes
- Community Centers
- Job Centers
- GP surgeries
- Charities and Voluntary Organizations
- Industrial and Commercial Organizations like equipment manufacturers, and architects
- Housing Associations
- NHS trusts
- Daycare and health centers
Specializations for Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapy is a field in which there are many options available for specialization and an attractive career outlook. Pediatrics, mental health, geriatrics, and physical rehabilitation are the four areas in which OTs can specialize. All these fields are certified by AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association). In addition, the board also offers certification to those occupational therapists who possess specialization in changing the surrounding for disabled, and aspirants who wish to treat patients with vision impairment, and face difficulty in moving or eating.
1. Pediatric Specialization
Occupational therapists who wish to work with children pursue specialization in pediatrics. Pediatric occupational therapists assist those children who are prone to several disabilities and unable to perform their daily tasks. They work with the parents, caregivers, and other health care providers to develop cognitive skills in a child. Thus, helps to make a child more functional and independent. Candidates, who wish to work with children can concentrate on pediatric courses like child development and pediatric interventions even when they are in graduate schools.
2. Mental Health Specialization
Ots, who expertise in mental health, aid their clients to overcome depression, substance abuse, mood disorders, etc. They train their patients about money management, stress management, and how to be more interactive. Aspirants of occupational therapists who want to pursue their career in mental health care can specialize in physiological occupational therapy and psychology.
3. Geriatric Specialization
Geriatric specialized occupational therapists can change the home environments for the elderly patients in such a way that they can manage their routine tasks without any trouble. For instance, an occupational therapist can add safety aids in the washrooms and railings of stairways so that they do not fall. Some illnesses can affect the aging individuals at any time of the day, so the therapists in hospitals, nursing homes, community centers teach them the appropriate ways to use walkers and other medical equipment. Candidates, who desire to work with aging patients can think about doing specialization in gerontology during graduate school.
4. Physical Rehabilitation Specialization
Occupational therapists who assist the individuals going through physical problems due to a disease, disorder, disability or some kind of injury are known as physical rehabilitation specialized occupational therapists. They instruct them on how to carry out their day to day tasks and follow their office routine normally. Their work may comprise the use of specially designed equipment, helping devices, and some exercises. Candidates, who wish to take their career towards working with physically challenged people can take classes of kinesiology, physical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities.