Classification: Occupational Therapist
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An occupational therapist is a person who has graduated from an entry-level occupational therapy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) or predecessor organizations, or approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), or an equivalent international occupational therapy education program; has successfully completed a period of supervised fieldwork experience required by the occupational therapy program; has passed a nationally recognized entry-level examination for occupational therapists, and fulfills state requirements for licensure, certification, or registration. An occupational therapist provides interventions based on evaluation and which emphasize the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (i.e., occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of facilitating participation in roles and situations and in home, school, workplace, community and other settings. Occupational therapy services are provided for the purpose of promoting health and wellness and are provided to those who have or are at risk for developing an illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation, or participation restriction. Occupational therapists address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of occupational performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life.
Source: The Guide to Occupational Therapy Practice, 2nd edition. Bethesda: American Occupational Therapy Association, 2007. [7/1/2008: definition changed, added source]
Additional Taxonomy Codes from Occupational Therapist Classification
Occupational therapy practitioners are experts at identifying the cause of difficulties in performance of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. Occupational therapy practitioners evaluate the client, their environment, and their occupational performance in that environment, as well as make recommendations for products to improve the fit between the client, place, and activity. Occupational therapists can evaluate both the skills of the client and the environmental features that support or limit the performance of meaningful or necessary activities, thereby enhancing health, safety and well-being. Based on this assessment, they recommend modification and intervention strategies that improve the fit between the person and his or her environment.
Feeding, Eating & Swallowing
Occupational therapists provide interventions to clients of all ages with feeding, eating and swallowing difficulties. Occupational therapists provide comprehensive rehabilitative, habilitative, and palliative dysphagia care, which includes collaborating with clients to provide individualized compensatory swallowing strategies, modified diet textures, adapted mealtime environments, enhanced feeding skills, preparatory exercises and positioning to clients, reinforcement of mealtime strategies to enhance and improve swallowing skills, and training to caregivers to enhance eating and feeding performance. Occupational therapists provide screening and in-depth clinical assessment which may include instrumental dysphagia assessments including videofluroscopy.
Occupational therapists work with older adults in virtually every setting: assisted living, wellness programs, hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, clinics and in the home. Occupational therapists bring an understanding of the importance of participation and occupation for overall well-being to those who are experiencing disabling conditions related to aging. The primary overarching goal of occupational therapy services with this population is to maximize independence and participation, thereby enabling an older person to continue to live successfully in his or her chosen environment. Occupational therapists can help older adults by developing strategies to help or maintain safety and well-being, to assist with life transitions, and to compensate for challenges they experience in activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, leisure participation, social participation, and productive activities.
Occupational therapists enable children and adults with visual impairment to engage in their chosen daily living activities safely and as independently as possible. This is accomplished by 1) teaching the person to use their remaining vision as efficiently as possible to complete activities; (2) modifying activities so that they can be completed with less vision; (3) training the person in use of adaptive equipment to compensate for vision loss, including high and low technology assistive devices; and (4) modifying the person’s environment.
Occupational therapists provide treatment for people recovering from a mental or physical illness to regain their independence and stability and to engage in normal daily occupations (work, home, family life, school, leisure). Occupational therapists provide particular emphasis on interventions that result in improved quality of life and decrease hospitalization.
Occupational therapists are experts at helping people lead as independent a life as possible. Occupational therapists bring an understanding of the physical and psychological implications of illness and injury and their effects on peoples' ability to perform the tasks of daily living. Occupational therapists provide interventions that can aide a person in completing ADL and IADL tasks, such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals, and driving. They also may fabricate custom orthotics to improve function, evaluate the environment for safety hazards and recommend adaptations to remove those hazards, help a person compensate for cognitive changes, and build a persons’ physical endurance and strength. Occupational therapists' knowledge of adapting tasks and modifying the environment to compensate for functional limitations is used to increase the involvement of clients and to promote safety and success.
Occupational therapists provide services to infants, toddlers and children who have or who are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Occupational therapy is concerned with a child's ability to participate in daily life activities or "occupations." Occupational therapists use their unique expertise to help children with social-emotional, physical, cognitive, communication, and adaptive behavioral challenges and to help children to be prepared for and perform important learning and school-related activities and to fulfill their rule as students. Through an understanding of the impact of disability, illness, and impairment on a child's development, plan, ability to learn new skills, and overall occupational performance, occupational therapists design interventions that promote healthy development, establish needed skills, and/or modify environments, all in support of participation in daily activities.
Driving and Community Mobility
Occupational therapists can optimize and prolong an older driver’s ability to drive safely and ease the transition to other forms of transportation if driving cessation becomes necessary. By identifying strengths as well as physical or cognitive challenges, occupational therapists can evaluate an individual’s overall ability to operate a vehicle safely and recommend assistive devices or behavioral changes to limit risks. Occupational therapy practitioners offer a continuum of services related to community mobility, from evaluation of driving performance, through counseling and support for lifestyle changes, to maintaining independence and quality of life.
Volume numbers are based on primary as well as secondary taxonomy codes of Providers.