Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities. Both assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists.
Occupational therapy assistants typically do the following:
Help patients do therapeutic activities, such as stretches and other exercises
Lead children who have developmental disabilities in play activities that promote coordination and socialization
Encourage patients to complete activities and tasks
Teach patients how to use special equipment--for example, showing a patient with Parkinson's disease how to use devices that make eating easier
Record patients' progress, report to occupational therapists, and do other administrative tasks
Assistants monitor activities to make sure that patients are doing them correctly. They record the patient's progress and provide feedback to the occupational therapist so that the therapist can change the treatment plan if the patient is not getting the desired results.
Occupational therapy aides typically prepare materials and assemble equipment used during treatment. They may assist patients with moving to and from treatment areas. After a therapy session, aides clean the treatment area, put away equipment, and gather laundry.
Occupational therapy aides fill out insurance forms and other paperwork and are responsible for a range of clerical tasks, such as scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, and monitoring inventory levels.
Watch the video below to learn more about what an Occupational Therapist Assistant does:
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