Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists defines occupation to be everything people do to occupy themselves, including looking after themselves (self-care), enjoying life (leisure), and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities (work/productivity). The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable any person – regardless of injury, illness, disability or psychological dysfunction – to participate in the activities of everyday life.
The role of an occupational therapist is to assist patients in developing or regaining skills important for independent functioning, health and well-being. The World Federation of Occupational Therapists identifies four key areas in the work of an occupational therapist. These are: assessment, planning, intervention, and cooperation.
Occupation therapists may work in a variety of setting including hospitals, clinics, day and rehabilitation centres, nursing homes and schools. Many occupational therapists also work in private practice and as educators and consultants.
Occupational therapy treatment covers several areas of performance. All treatment plans and therapy goals are created and implemented based on the person’s individual needs.
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