What sets the boundaries of the responsibilities of an occupational therapist? Occupational therapy is a health profession that promotes the health and well-being of individuals and communities through their occupations. It supports people in achieving what they want or needs to do, by intervening in the components of the individual, the activity, or the physical or social environment.
Occupational therapy is characterized by education and rehabilitation, by activity (Ergon in Greek). It is through the activities of the ecological everyday life (personal care, work, and leisure) and other global and analytical exercises that the occupational therapist organizes a therapy to improve abilities to act and skills, that individually or in groups.
Focusing on clients of all ages, particularly in the mental health sector, neurology, rheumatology, and functional rehabilitation, occupational therapists work as paid staff in institutions (hospitals, rehabilitation centers, support services, and home care, institutions for long stays, educational institutions, etc.) or in private/liberal practice.
This profession is also characterized by orthotics, with a medical prescription, the advice in technical aids, and in the home improvement of people with disabilities. Occupational therapy plays a key role in rehabilitation in an ecological environment, promoting re-education during a situation, to allow a return to independence, in a re-educational setting, to allow the person to evolve with a maximum of autonomy in his daily personal, professional, and leisure and activities of his daily life.
In most cases, occupational therapists work in collaboration with nurses, psychomotor therapists, physiotherapists (in France: masseurs-physiotherapists), doctors, psychologists, neuropsychologists, social workers, speech therapists, social workers.
In some cases, occupational therapists also collaborate with school stakeholders (teachers, special education technicians, etc.).
Occupational therapy allows people to organize and perform the activities they consider important:
– Take care of yourself and others;
– To be realized personally, academically, and professionally;
– To be entertained, for example by recreation;
– To develop, especially through play
*** The Values of the Profession
The profession of an occupational therapist is guided by many values and ethical principles including:
– Respect for the person, his values, and his right to decide for himself
The occupational therapist recognizes the individual’s right to make decisions about their personal circumstances based on what is important to them.
– The protection and promotion of the health and quality of life of the person, including the promotion of occupation
The occupational therapist firmly believes that the person’s participation in activities that are important to the person promotes physical and mental health and quality of life.
– Occupational participation and justice, both individually and collectively
The occupational therapist recognizes the right of everyone to participate in activities that they consider important to them.
– Integrity, independence, objectivity, competence, and rigor
The occupational therapist demonstrates great professionalism in the practice of his profession.
– Honesty, accountability, and transparency
The occupational therapist strongly believes in the importance of trust in the therapeutic relationship.
– Respect for the confidentiality of personal information
The occupational therapist understands the importance and sensitivity of the information he or she collects.
– Respect for the honor and dignity of the profession
The occupational therapist is proud of his profession.
*** The 10 Skills of the Occupational Therapist
An occupational therapist must, during his training, validate skills that will allow him to perfectly meet the expectations of his profession. These skills are:
– Evaluate a situation and develop an occupational therapy diagnosis;
– Conduct and design an intervention project in occupational therapy and environmental management;
– Implement rehabilitation, rehabilitation, reintegration, and psychosocial rehabilitation care;
– Design and carry out provisional, extemporaneous orthoses, for functional or technical assistance, adapt and recommend serial orthoses, technical and animal aids, and technical assistance;
– Develop and conduct an educational and counseling approach in occupational therapy and public health;
– Conduct a relationship in the context of occupational therapy intervention;
– Evaluate and evolve professional practice;
– Research, process and analyze professional and scientific data;
– Cooperate with the various actors and organize activities;
– Train and inform.
2 – Occupational Therapy Goals
– Promote the autonomy of people;
– To enable people to have a satisfactory quality of life;
– Facilitate their maintenance in a living environment that meets their needs and preferences;
– Facilitate their integration into the community.
3 – Field of Practice of Occupational Therapy
So what sets the boundaries of the Responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist? Each regulated profession has a scope of practice defined by law. This definition includes activities generally performed by members of this occupation. It does not represent a detailed list of everything a professional does.
The Professional Code defines the scope of practice of occupational therapy as follows:
“Evaluating a person’s functional abilities, determining and implementing a treatment and intervention plan, developing, restoring or maintaining skills, compensating for disabilities, reducing disability and adapting the environment for the purpose of to promote the optimal autonomy of the human being in interaction with his environment. ”
In addition, there are aspects common to all occupations, but applicable to the scope of practice specific to each of them:
“Information, health promotion, and the prevention of suicide, illness, accidents, and social problems with individuals, families, and communities are also part of the practice of the member’s profession. order to the extent that they relate to his professional activities. ”
4 – How Does the Occupational Therapist Proceed?
The occupational therapist evaluates:
– the consequences of a person’s physical and mental health problems on the multiple functions of his body and their influence on the carrying out of activities;
– the positive or negative effect of the physical and human environment on the carrying out of activities;
– the characteristics of the activities performed by the person and his or her personal routines;
– the degree of autonomy of the person in carrying out his activities.
Before defining a treatment or intervention plan, the occupational therapist analyzes the interaction between these elements, since he must direct his means of action as much to the person as to his environment and activities.
The occupational therapist then tries to optimize the person’s participation in activities that they consider important.
The occupational therapist considers the person and their loved ones to be key partners in the choice of objectives and means of intervention. He also collaborates with other professionals and stakeholders in an interdisciplinary approach.
*** Clientele and Sectors of Activity
The occupational therapist works with people of all ages, from newborns to seniors. He works with groups, communities, organizations, and businesses.
He works with people who have problems related to their physical health or their mental health, or to prevent the occurrence of such problems.
It also works with people who have no health problems, but who have issues related to their functioning or social integration, such as the issues related to maintaining an active lifestyle for seniors.
The occupational therapist can assume a wide variety of roles: clinician, researcher, teacher, manager, consultant, coordinator, case manager, consultant.
*** Reserved Activities
Under the Professional Code, occupational therapists also have responsibilities reserved for them. For a person to be able to carry out these activities, she must be a member of the Order.
These activities are:
– Perform a functional assessment of a person when this assessment is required in the application of the law;
– Evaluate the neuro-musculoskeletal function of a person with an impairment or disability of his or her physical function;
– Provide wound-related treatments;
– Evaluate a person with a mental or neuropsychological disorder attested by a diagnosis or an assessment by an authorized professional;
– Evaluate a child who is not yet eligible for pre-school education and who has signs of developmental delay in order to determine rehabilitation and adjustment services that meet his or her needs;
– Evaluate a student with a disability or social maladjustment in the context of the determination of an intervention plan under the Education Act;
– Decide on the use of restraint measures;
– Decide on the use of segregation measures in the application of the Act respecting health services and social services and the Act respecting health services and social services for Cree Native persons.
These activities are not reserved exclusively for occupational therapists. Other health professionals may exercise them if the law allows them. In this case, the professionals involved do not do exactly the same thing. Everyone must ensure that the activity is carried out according to their field of practice, including the objective pursued by their interventions.
Some occupational therapists are also allowed to practice psychotherapy. They then hold a psychotherapist’s permit and may carry the title of occupational therapist-psychotherapist. In this case, the responsibilities of an Occupational Therapist are a little broader.