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Diseases & Conditions

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Occupational Therapist

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapy is a health care 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 the following:

  • 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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Last Review Date: 12/4/2013
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