What Students in an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Should Know About Ethics and Professionalism
Occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) work under the supervision of occupational therapists (OTs), but are still held to the same standards for acting professionally and ethically. Clients are at the centre of occupational therapy practice and OTAs will encounter a variety of clients with different goals and personalities throughout their careers. Putting the priorities of clients first is part of an OTA’s duty to act with integrity.
The guidelines and principles that outline ethical practice and professionalism for OTs and OTAs provide a guarantee to clients that they can trust those who work in this profession. Whether you are facing a complicated situation or a regular day as and OTA, you will be expected to maintain ethical and professional practice. Here is a little more information about what that means.
The Principles of Client-Centred Practice
If you wish to become an occupational therapy assistant it is necessary to recognize and respect the underpinning principles of client-centred practice. The client’s needs, wishes, and experiences come first in providing and deciding on care plans. With the supervising OT, you must communicate openly and clearly to show that you will collaborate with clients to ensure their priorities are your priorities.
As an OTA you will be working with clients to help improve their participation in daily life and it will be important to know what gives them meaning and purpose. In order to do this, you must avoid assumptions and reserve judgement about an individual’s values and life goals. With the right training, you will have strategies and hands-on experience to uphold the principles of client-centred practice.
Respect for Autonomy Is Another Way to Centre Clients
An OT must inform the client about recommendations for services and care. The client may give consent or refuse and their decision must be accepted even if their choice does not align with the one you would make. Students who have gone through an occupational therapy assistant program will have specialized knowledge and opinions about care, but it should not be expected that this knowledge take precedence over a client’s autonomy.
The ways in which you can respect autonomy are to actively support clients in working towards their goals, respecting the confidentiality of the client, and checking in with clients about your interactions with them on a regular basis.
Ethics and Professionalism Are Occupational Therapist Assistant Course Topics
As an OTA, you may work in a variety of facilities including hospitals, long-term care homes, and occupational therapy office. Part of preparing to work in these environments includes completing a course in ethics and professionalism as part of your studies.
Clients will be a range of ages and experience many different conditions. They may have challenges because of impairment of body structure, an injury, or barriers in their social and physical environment. The knowledge you have about exercise foundations, anatomy and physiology, and healthcare systems will be bolstered by your capacity to follow the guidelines for ethical practice.
Are you interested in becoming an OTA?
Learn more about the occupational therapist assistant course offered at KLC!