Occupational therapy course students usually work as occupational therapists. An occupational therapist works with people who have experienced injury, illness or disability, to help those people engage meaningfully in everyday life, and to achieve independence, satisfaction, and personal wellbeing. Occupational therapists usually perform three roles with a client:
- Conducting an individual evaluation, to determine the client’s capacity and goals;
- Designing customised interventions for the client, in order to improve their ability to accomplish tasks and achieve their goals; and
- Conducting an outcomes evaluation to track progress against goals and ensure the intervention plan is working effectively.
In performing these tasks, an occupational therapist may visit the client’s home to observe and assess their environment, talk to the client and their family, perform exercises and activities with the client, recommend and supply items to assist the client in achieving their goals, and maintain written documentation of the interventions conducted and the client’s progress against their goals.
Occupational therapy is considered a holistic health service, which focuses on adapting a person’s environment to fit the client. As such, the client is an integral part of the therapeutic process. The occupational therapist collaborates frequently with other medical practitioners to ensure holistic, consistent support is provided, and is mindful at all times of the client’s wishes, perspectives and goals.