Occupational therapy has steadily increased in popularity as one of the ways to help persons regain their mobility and independence after an illness or injury. An occupational therapist examines your medical history, evaluates your physical capabilities, and designs a customized plan to help you. However, what does an occupational therapist assistant do? Let’s explore their role in getting you back to your peak performance.
Being An Occupational Therapy Assistant: Duties and Responsibilities
An occupational therapy assistant (OTA) helps an occupational therapist to treat clients who struggle to perform basic daily tasks and work activities because of their illnesses, injuries, or disabilities.
An OTA helps clients to perform exercises as outlined in their treatment plans. The OTA also teaches them how to safely use assistive devices to make their lives easier. An OTA works under the supervision of an occupational therapist, so they can help develop treatment plans (if state law permits the same).
Furthermore, an OTA completes tasks such as:
- Perform clerical duties such as scheduling appointments, collecting data, or documenting health insurance bills.
- Treat clients with therapeutic and self-care activities that serve to improve function under the direction of the occupational therapist.
- Monitor a client’s exercises to ensure that they are performing them correctly and to offer encouragement.
- Make contributions at meetings and conferences to support coordinated and comprehensive healthcare plans.
- Document clients’ weekly progress in the appropriate records.
- Maintain the office’s treatment areas, equipment, and inventory supplies.
- Instruct clients, their families, and any caregivers in the skills and techniques of a client’s treatment program (with the supervision of an occupational therapist).
- Communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to support each client’s healthcare.
Education, Training, and Certification
An OTA not only completes a high school diploma but also needs to meet further educational and licensing requirements.
Each OTA must have an associate degree from an occupational therapy assistant program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Some community colleges and technical schools offer these programs over two years, combining academic and clinical fieldwork.
License or Certification
Most states regulate OTA credentials. Eligibility requires graduation from an ACOTE-approved program, as well as passing the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) exam. The COTA exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Some employers may also require that OTAs hold current certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Other Skills and Competencies
An OTA needs to have certain skills and competencies such as:
- Compassion: WIllingness to provide physical and emotional support to clients.
- Interpersonal skills: Great social skills meaning strong listening and speaking skills. Willing to interact with clients, families, team members, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.
- Physical strength: The ability to lift clients, kneel, stoop, and stand for a long time.
- Attention to detail: The ability to closely follow the treatment plans designed by an occupational therapist.
- Client confidentiality: Respect for the patient’s privacy and confidentiality.
How to Buy a Power Wheelchair After a Brain Injury
A brain injury can be classified as either traumatic (due to falls, accidents, being hit in the head, sports, or IED incidents) or non-traumatic (due to stroke, anoxic/hypoxic, poison, virus, or tumors). A brain injury often affects one’s ability to walk, so it’s necessary to source a power wheelchair.
A power wheelchair is a motorized wheelchair that works perfectly for persons with limited muscle strength to have some mobility and independence. Some characteristics that you need to consider when buying a power wheelchair include:
Rear, Middle, or Front-Wheel-Drive
Rear-wheel-drive options are most often used for speed and outdoor travel. However, front-wheel-drive power chairs are generally the most popular choice, since they are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Furthermore, the front-wheel-drive design is better at navigating turns compared to rear-wheel drive options.
Middle-wheel-drive wheelchairs are best suited for larger indoor and even-surfaced outdoor environments. These models also don’t perform well on rough terrains and do not turn very well.
Regardless of the style or type of wheelchair needed, an OTA can help find the right one that best suits an injury or medical condition.
Ease of Portability, Disassembly, and Foldability
Modern power wheelchairs come in a variety of configurations. They are often constructed from smaller, lightweight parts, and can fold down for easier transport and storage.
Range of Adjustment
Several power wheelchairs allow you to adjust the seat, footrests, and other components for best fit and comfort. Also, there are several models of varying sizes and adjustability. For example, a reclining feature makes a power wheelchair more comfortable for extended sitting.
The Size of the Power Wheelchair vs. Your Home
Do you live in a small apartment or house? Will you use your power wheelchair in tight spaces? Then you need to choose a compact design and width that helps you to get through doorways and navigate your space.
Ease of Maneuverability and Turning Radius
Some power wheelchairs are designated for indoor or outdoor use (or both), so there will be many variations in the turning radius. We recommend that an outdoor wheelchair has a minimum of 47 inches for a turning radius. However, some power wheelchairs can go as low as 20 inches. The lower the turning radius, the easier it will be to turn the chair around in small indoor spaces.
Weight Capacity and Dimensions
While you want your wheelchair to easily get through doorways, you should choose the best size to meet your needs. Even the slightest discomfort becomes a huge pain when you need to use it daily. Also, ensure that your wheelchair can safely accommodate your weight so that you will be safe from any falls or other mishaps.
Does CT Have a Brain Injury Recovery Program?
“What does an occupational therapist assistant do?” They are an important part of any rehabilitative medical team. Moving With Hope is your source for the best therapy interventions in Shelton, CT. We have an expert team of occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, and many other critical roles. We will also collaborate with your medical team to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that best serves your health needs. Contact us today to begin the journey to your best possible health!