OT: DEFINITION & PRACTICE

DEFINITION
(Modified on April 25, 2017)

'Occupational Therapy is a holistic evidence-based client - centered first contact and/or referral profession of modern health care system, based on science of occupation, with primary focus on purposeful goal-oriented activity/occupations, enhanced with the use of latest technological systems for evaluation, diagnosis, education and treatment of the patients (clients) of any age group, whose function(s) is (are) impaired by physical, psychosocial and cognitive impairments, development disorders, or the ageing process affecting their quality of life, with the aim to prevent disability, promote health & well-being and return to optimum occupational roles.

Specific occupational therapy services include but are not limited to: preventive health literacy, assessment & interventions in activities of daily living(ADL),work & productive activities, play,leisure and spiritual activities; functional capacity analysis, prescription, designing and training in the use of assistive technology, adaptive equipment & splints, and environmental modifications to enhance functional performance

PRACTICE CONTEXT OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY IN INDIA

About Occupational Therapy

Occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. It includes things people need to, want to and are expected to do. Occupational Therapy is thus an applied science based on scientific reasoning that enhances ability of client to participate in purposeful occupational tasks.

Occupational therapists believe that participation can be supported or restricted by the physical, affective or cognitive abilities of the individual, the characteristics of the occupation, or the physical, social, cultural, attitudinal and legislative environments. Therefore, occupational therapy practice is focused on enabling individuals to change aspects of their person, the occupation, the environment, or some combination of these to enhance occupational participation.

Responsibilities

Occupational Therapy helps individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, or populations to develop strategies and opportunities to maximize the engagement in one's 'occupations' includes things people need to, want to and are expected to do according to their living context. Occupational Therapists use a scientific approach based on evidence and clinical reasoning for their decision-making process.

Such a decision making process involves multiple steps such as

  • Assessment
  • Planning an individual / beneficiary specific intervention
  • Implementation of the proposed intervention
  • Monitoring
  • Modifying the intervention based on the input from monitoring
  • Re-evaluating the client / beneficiary of occupational therapy services
Occupational Therapists serve all age groups and every condition/ pathology that may cause or pose a risk to limit "occupational" (human) performance. OTs has well-established clinical roles globally. Practice areas include-
1.Children & Youth
2.Productive Aging
3.Mental Health
4.Rehabilitation, Disability & Participation
5.Work & Industry
6.Health & Wellness &
7.Community Based Rehabilitation

The Roles Implicit by Occupational Therapists include, but are not limited to

  • Clinician
  • Researcher
  • Academician
  • Counselor
  • Diplomat
  • Occupational related health risk assessor and advisor (like worksite ergonomic evaluation, driving evaluation etc.)
  • Program director (e.g. a specific program to promote mental health among elderly OR adolescents etc.)
  • Rehabilitation director
In contemporary work environments, occupational therapists are often members of multiple teams, which may include other occupational therapists, health professionals, and/or non-health professionals. They work within a multicultural society, remaining cognizant of their own cultural values whilst also striving to understand and respect the particular cultural context of their clients.

Practice settings

The occupational therapists in India are generally practicing in

  • Government organizations / institutions / hospitals / projects
  • Non- government organizations
  • Private sectors like
    • Acute care hospitals & nursing homes
    • Rehabilitation centers and clinics / centers (like developmental therapy clinics, neuro-rehabilitation facilities, de addiction centers etc.)
    • Special schools
    • Main stream Schools
    • Chronic care facilities
    • Social agencies/Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) & Disaster Management Projects
    • Hospice care facilities
    • Mental Health Setups /Institutions and Hospitals
    • Industries
    • Self employed

Occupational therapists now also develop specific working area, or with a specific age group or disability.