If you’re looking for a career where you get to make a positive difference in the lives of people every day, you may want to consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA). Working alongside occupational therapists, OTAs help individuals who have injuries, disabilities, and physical or mental impairments develop or recover the skills they need to participate in everyday activities.
OTAs play an essential role in our healthcare system and they can be found working in a wide variety of healthcare settings. If you’re training to become an OTA, you’ll be qualified to work in a variety of settings once you graduate. Read on to learn more.
1. OTAs Assist with Stroke Rehabilitation at Hospitals & Rehabilitation Centres
OTAs assist individuals who are on the path to recovery after a traumatic event or injury. Often, OTAs work in hospitals and rehabilitation centres helping to rehabilitate patients. Working with individuals who have suffered strokes is especially common in such settings, with some hospitals having dedicated facilities just for stroke patients. Rehabilitation centres also often focus extensively on helping stroke patients recover.
Such patients will usually see a team of specialists, including occupational therapists and OTAs. The occupational therapist will develop a plan for the patient, which the OTA will help to put into action. For example, while every person who has had a stroke will have different goals and care needs, as an OTA, you will assist with such things as helping the patient learn how to dress, bathe, eat, and stay mobile.
2. You Can Assist People in Community Living as an Occupational Therapy Assistant
Some individuals have intellectual disabilities that allow them to live somewhat independently, while still requiring occasional assistance for certain tasks. For such people, community living provides an ideal mix of independence and support. Community living can take many forms depending on the person’s individual needs and challenges.
Some individuals live at home with their families, for example, with occupational therapists and OTAs visiting occasionally to provide assistance. Others may live in a group home with other people who also have intellectual disabilities. When you become an occupational therapy assistant, you can play an important role in assisting individuals in community living. For example, you can help them with developing their fine motor and socialization skills, and with learning daily tasks, like grooming, eating, and cleaning.
3. OTAs in Retirement and Nursing Homes Can Help Address the Needs of Older Individuals
OTAs frequently work with older patients, especially in retirement and nursing homes. As part of your occupational therapy assistant program, you’ll learn about gerontology, which is the study of old age, aging, and issues that are particular to seniors. The knowledge you gain from your gerontology course can help you better understand the challenges that older clients who live in retirement and nursing homes face.
For instance, senior patients are at an elevated risk of a number of health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease, which may require the assistance of an OTA. As an OTA, you can help such clients better manage their health conditions, such as by helping them with routine exercises, preparing food, and communicating, all of which can improve their overall quality of life.
Are you ready to begin your new career?
Contact KLC College to learn more about our occupational therapy assistant course.