Occupational Therapy

For people with physical, mental, or cognitive disorders, completing the tasks and activities of everyday life can be challenging. Occupational therapy is a field of treatment focused on helping such people achieve, maintain, or regain their ability to live as independently as possible. In addition to removing environmental conditions that may hinder a person’s ability to function normally, occupational therapists provide treatment and instruction focused on modifying the performance of particular tasks to suit an individual’s needs and abilities; adapting a person’s home or work environment to make it easier for him or her to perform daily tasks and activities; teaching or re-teaching certain skills; and educating the individual and his or her caretakers on ways to increase the client’s quality of life, independence, and participation in daily life. To achieve the best possible patient outcomes, occupational therapists often collaborate with physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, nurses, and social workers. Occupational therapy has a very broad scope of practice in many different settings, including hospitals, aging care facilities (e.g., skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities), outpatient clinics, and community settings, including schools. Some occupational therapists provide in-home therapy or travel to several different locations for different lengths of time (i.e., travel occupational therapy). Occupational therapists must have a master’s degree and pass a licensing exam to receive certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).