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Occupational Therapist

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that helps people with physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives.

An occupational therapist, or OT, is part of the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team and often directs the following types of care:

  • Evaluates children with developmental or neuromuscular problems and helps plan treatments that will help them grow mentally, socially, and physically

  • Assists adults in learning how to carry out activities of daily living (ADLs) at home, on the job, and in the community

  • Helps the elderly adjust to the special problems of aging while remaining physically and mentally active

  • Recommends changes in layout and design of the home, school, or workplace to allow people with disabilities greater access and mobility

  • Teaches energy conservation and work simplification methods

  • Improves communication skills, such as reading, writing, and using the telephone

Occupational therapists may practice in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Schools

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Home care settings

  • Private practice

Occupational therapists hold a master's or doctoral degree and are certified by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Latest Health News

How Much Do You Know About Stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

1. What is another name for a stroke?
2. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
3. Which of these is a symptom of stroke?
4. Which of these lifestyle factors plays the biggest role in increasing the risk for stroke in younger adults?
5. If a person has an ischemic stroke, how quickly should the person be treated to minimize long-term problems?
6. Which type of medicine is given to help prevent a stroke?
7. Which of these may be a long-term problem after a stroke?
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