Typical Workday for an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists help people improve their ability to perform the tasks necessary in their day-to-day lives.

As such, we thought it would be helpful to describe what the day-to-day work life of an occupational therapist is like.

OT patients may be dealing with a physically, developmentally, emotionally or mentally disabling condition (from strokes to attention deficit disorder). Occupational therapists use various treatments to help their patients maintain, recover or even develop their daily living and work skills, including (but not limited to) basic motor functions and even reasoning abilities.

An OT more than likely begins his or her work day reviewing patient care notes, reviewing paperwork and looking over the day’s patient care load. OTs can see five to eight patients a day, typically.

If this is the first day the OT and the patient meet, the OT will assess the patient’s disability and will work on a care plan. The OT will share this plan with the patient and will get the patient’s agreement to work on the plan. The OT undoubtedly will remind the patient that the success of the plan is in the patient’s hands. The OT does not “rehabilitate” the patient; the patient does the work, guided and assisted by the OT.

Most of an occupational therapist’s day is spent in direct patient care. Such one-on-one care with patients is a big reason many OTs decided to pursue the career. OTs generally spend at least 45 minutes with each patient each day. They get to know their patients quite well and can have a deep feeling of satisfaction as they see a patient’s progress.

While with patients, OTs teach self-care tasks such as personal hygiene, dressing and grooming. OTs and their patients also work on improving balance, coordination, reaching, flexibility, strength, and movement.

A patient’s occupational therapy treatment often consists of meeting with his or her therapist three to five days a week, for one to four weeks (sometimes more, as dictated by a patient’s needs and progress).

An OT’s day ends — as many healthcare professionals’ days end — with paperwork. The OT will update patients’ therapy records and fill out necessary insurance forms. The OT often will meet with other members of a patient’s care team (nurses, physicians, etc.), discussing how a patient is faring, his or her progress, etc. These collaborations may or may not result in a change in a patient’s occupational therapy plan.

Occupational therapists are much needed at Centra Healthcare Solutions. We have rehab facilities all over the country contacting us with openings for experienced and compassionate OTs and OT assistants. Contact us today!


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