What is Occupational Therapy?


Occupational therapy is a type of health care that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them – everyday things like:

  • Self-care - getting dressed, eating, moving around the house,
  • Being productive - going to work or school, participating in the community, and
  • Leisure activities - sports, gardening, social activities. 

Occupational therapy can also prevent a problem or minimize its effects.

Who are occupational therapists and where do they work?

Occupational therapists, often called OTs, are the primary providers of occupational therapy services.  OTs are:
  • university educated professionals that apply their specialized knowledge and skills to recommend a course of preventive or corrective action that will help people lead more productive and satisfying lives,
  • trained to understand not only the medical and physical limitations of a disability or injury, but also the psychosocial factors that affect the functioning of the whole person – their health and their wellness, and 
  • a regulated medical profession; occupational therapists must be registered with their provincial regulator in order to practice legally in Canada.

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings including:

Home and Community: Home care, private practices, health boards, community mental health centres, clinics, halfway houses, groups homes, vocational programs, community action groups, and workers compensation boards.

Institutions:
Hospitals, intermediate and long term care facilities, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, mental health centres, correctional institutions, recreation centres, schools, universities and colleges, research centers.

Industry and business:
Corporations, rehabilitation companies, insurance companies, and architectural firms.

Government: All levels of government advising in the areas of health promotion, disability prevention/management, accessibility, vocational/health planning and international rehabilitation program development.
Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
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