Occupational therapy assistants are responsible for assisting patients who struggle to perform daily activities due to various physical, mental, or developmental conditions. These assistants work within a variety of health care offices (primarily rehabilitation offices) with occupational therapists and teams of other therapy associates. While they generally work during traditional business hours, it is not uncommon to work extended hours, especially for those who work in hospitals.
Occupational therapy assistants have a variety of responsibilities which often vary by day and patient. Common duties include: assisting patients with various daily activities; assisting patients with learning disabilities or poor social skills; teaching patients how to use various equipment; assisting in the implementation of rehabilitation plans; supervising patients' activities; developing games for children; developing activities to enhance patients' skills; reporting patients' progress to various therapists and physicians; and recording all necessary information about patients.
Occupational therapy assistants should have completed a two-year occupational therapy program which offers both classroom and clinical field work. Candidates for the position should be innately compassionate with a desire to help their patients, as well as physically capable of all necessary functions to properly assist them.
Occupational Therapist Assistant Tasks
Instruct patients and families in home programs, basic living skills and the care and use of adaptive equipment.
Assist occupational therapists with implementing treatment plans designed to help patients function independently.
Select therapy activities to fit patients' needs and capabilities, alter treatment programs as necessary.
Observe and document patients' progress, attitudes and behavior and report to supervisor.
Monitor and evaluate patients' performance in therapy activities and provide encouragement.