An occupational therapist’s main goal is to help individuals regain and maintain their independence to the best of their ability. An occupational therapist (OT) focuses on what is meaningful and important to an individual and works with them to adapt different ways to allow them to continue to engage with these activities. Areas that an OT can help with include cognitive and physical rehabilitation, assessment of adaptive equipment needs and support with mental health and wellbeing.
In the acute setting an occupational therapist will start off by prioritising their patient list for the day following a multidisciplinary team meeting. The OT will then complete an initial assessment with a patient, gathering information on their background and how they normally manage day to day. This will then inform the OT’s next steps and generally rehab goals will be set with the patients. An OT may also complete a variety of different assessments including cognitive assessments, kitchen and wash and dress assessments. OTs normally work closely with other members of the multidisciplinary team including physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, dieticians, physician associates, nursing staff, social workers and discharge coordinators and many more.
A career in occupational therapy is an exciting one as it opens up doors to a huge variety of settings. For example OT’s can be based in hospitals, the community, schools, social services and more. There are opportunities for OT careers in neuro rehabilitation, hand therapy, acute medical, amputees, assessment of home adaptations, paediatrics, mental health and more.
Why I chose to be an occupational therapist:
I became an OT because I've always been passionate about working with people. OT allows me to help people achieve their full potential. There are so many different areas within OT that I find fascinating. It makes every day interesting as I don't know what challenge I'll walk in to. I love how holistic and person-centred OT is. The fulfillment I get from helping people achieve their goals makes this a career worth doing.