what is occupational therapy

A Primer on Occupational Therapy

If you’ve never been treated by an occupational therapist, you may be confused about what they do or even what occupational therapy is.  This form of therapy is often required following an injury suffered at work to return the patient to full health and function.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy isn’t limited to your “occupation” for employment. Nor does it relate exclusively to injury rehabilitation. It can also help people with disabilities, or who have suffered an affliction, like a stroke, to lead more rewarding lives.

According to the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), “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.”

Those “things” can fall into one of three types of activities in your daily life.

  1. Taking Care of Yourself – Including mobility around the house, eating, washing and getting dressed.
  2. Being Productive – Including performing your duties at work or attending school.
  3. Recreational Activities – Including playing sports, exercising, doing a hobby or joining in social activities.

Who Are Occupational Therapists and What Do They Do?

Occupational therapists (OTs) are:

  • University educated. As set by the CAOT, the entry-level educational requirement is a master’s degree in occupational therapy. OT candidates must also complete 1,000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience.
  • Trained to understand the physical, medical, emotional and psychosocial implications of a person’s injury or disability, and how they can affect the daily functioning of the whole person.
  • Part of a regulated medical profession who cannot practice in Canada unless they are registered with their local provincial regulating body. 

 

If you or someone you know needs the services of an occupational therapist, get in touch with us here at Active Health Centre, your Markham physical therapy clinic.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article “5 Key Elements of Physical Fitness”.

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