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.

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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