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What Students in an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Should Know About Ethics and Professionalism

become an occupational therapy assistant

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 expected to hold up the principles of client-centred practice

Brunette woman on physical therapy. Focus on ball.

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.

At KLC you will study ethics and professionalism and have a chance to apply your knowledge

At KLC you will study ethics and professionalism and have a chance to apply your knowledge

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!

Considering an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program? Learn About the Environmental Impact on ADLs

occupational therapist assistant course

If you are considering a career as an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), you are probably someone who wants to make a difference in the lives of other people. As an OTA, you will be responsible for providing personalized care to clients who might be experiencing a variety of difficulties. Some of these difficulties might affect what is commonly referred to as Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs.

Helping clients with their ADLs is something that you may have to do as an OTA. For that reason, it is important for aspiring OTAs to be aware of the ways that a client’s environment can impact their ADLs.

Check out our blog to learn more about ADLs, client environments, and your role as an OTA!

Understanding Environmental Impact in Your Occupational Therapist Assistant Course

To understand how a client’s environment (i.e., the space around them) can impact their ADLs, it is important to understand what exactly ADLs refer to. Although some clients might be more autonomous than others in completing their ADLs, here are a few things that the term refers to:

Ambulating—is the technical term used to describe a person’s ability to walk or move from one place to another.

Feeding—is the ability of a person to independently prepare their food and feed themselves.

Dressing and grooming—refer to a person’s capacity to choose appropriate clothing for different occasions, put that clothing on, and to manage or maintain their personal appearance.

Toileting—means going to the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning up after themselves.

Transferring—is the ability to move from one position to another. This may include movements like transferring from a bed or a chair to a standing position, or vice-versa.

ADLs can include the ability to prepare one’s own meals

ADLs can include the ability to prepare one’s own meals

A career training program in occupational therapy assistance will teach you that when the environment of a client is adapted to their needs, it can help the client to perform their ADLs. There are many environmental changes that can be made to a client’s living space. Some of the more common ones include: ramps, modified lighting, adapted steps, adherent floors, and wider doors.

Here’s How You Can Help Clients Manage Their ADLs

When you complete your occupational therapy assistant training, you’ll find that a client’s ability to complete their ADLs is important for maintaining their overall health and quality of life. The combination of the right environmental adaptations and a qualified OTA can help give clients a feeling of independence.

As an OTA, if your client lives in a place with adapted environmental conditions, it is important that you take the time to understand everything that has been put in place for them. Learning what your client needs is essential in being able to provide the right services. When you have a good awareness of your client’s needs and how their environment is assisting them, you can help them with their ADLs, and encourage them to perform certain activities on their own.

Your client’s environment can make ADLs easier or more challenging to complete

Your client’s environment can make ADLs easier or more challenging to complete

You might meet many different clients who have difficulty completing their ADLs. These may range from people who are recovering from major surgeries to senior citizens and to people who have incapacitating illnesses. As an OTA, you must be prepared to help different clients perform different tasks.

Are you looking for an occupational therapy assistant program?

Contact KLC College today and find out more!

Why Gerontology Matters in Your Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

occupational therapist assistant course

Gerontology is the study of aging, and the various processes, aspects and challenges associated with it as adults reach the later stages of life. As an occupational therapy assistant, you can help members of this population reclaim or maintain their independence and quality of life, whether through assisting them with tasks like dressing, cleaning, moving into a wheelchair from their bed, or helping prepare meals.

In a medical context, geriatrics zeroes in on how to care for members of the elderly population properly and effectively. Occupational therapy can help older clients maintain as much of their independence as they can, even if their mobility is limited or they currently live in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home. Here’s why learning about gerontology is such an important step in succeeding as an occupational therapy assistant.

Occupational Therapy Helps Older People Maintain Independence and Avoid Health Risks

There are many ways in which occupational therapy can be a boon for your elderly clients, not the least of which includes how they can maintain their independence and personal freedom. This is especially since older adults may have various medical needs of a complex nature and require assistance from an occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant. Additionally, their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks may be impeded by age-related factors.

During your career, you’ll be monitoring the progress of older clients under an occupational therapist’s supervision. You’ll help clients reach certain goals while keeping their safety a top priority. For example, you and the occupational therapist you work under can help these adults come up with strategies to avoid problems related to balance or mobility. This could include eliminating risks inside the home that could cause falls, such as rugs, unlit hallways, or stairs without railings. You’ll be helping find solutions to help older clients maintain or regain their autonomy, which is one of the most satisfying aspects of being an occupational therapy assistant. In order to better help you care for this particular population, you’ll learn about gerontology during your occupational therapy assistant program.

A priority is not only to help older populations reclaim independence, but to keep them safe

A priority is not only to help older populations reclaim independence, but to keep them safe

Working with This Population Can Boost Their Morale and Quality of Life

To become an occupational therapy assistant, it’s important to work towards a goal of improving clients’ quality of life and overall sense of happiness, as well as to help them make up for certain personal restrictions, such as mobility, preparing meals, or issues with motor skills. Working closely with a senior citizen in this way can also help build a solid relationship between you and the client.

This will also allow you to practice your strong communication and interpersonal skills in order to succeed in the field, regardless of the age of your clients. While an elderly client may not be able to care for themselves the way they used to, having a caring, empathetic occupational therapy assistant around to help them can improve their morale and make things that much easier for them.

Building a great relationship with a senior client can improve their overall sense of happiness

Building a great relationship with a senior client can improve their overall sense of happiness

Do you want to take an occupational therapist assistant course?

Contact KLC College for more information!

3 Facts about Surface Anatomy for Students in an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

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Surface anatomy is a part of gross anatomy, or the study of tissues and organs that are visible to the naked eye. These visible parts are also known as the macroscopic level. Surface anatomy is specifically the external features of the body that can be seen without dissection. For occupational therapy, being familiar with the human body is foundational. Also referred to as superficial anatomy or visual anatomy, surface anatomy allows practitioners to locate landmarks and use palpation, which is physical examination through touching the surface of the body. Read on for some facts about this important part of studying to become an occupational therapy assistant.

1. Surface Anatomy uses Directional Terms from Occupational Therapy Assistant Courses

Directional terms are used in anatomy to be clear about locations on the body as well as to describe movements. The starting point for directional terms is the anatomical position, in which a person is standing facing forward, with their arms at their sides and palms facing forward. From there, we can use terms such as superior or inferior, meaning upper or lower, or posterior and anterior, meaning back and front. These words will allow you to understand and communicate with the occupational therapist (OT) you assist when you become an occupational therapy assistant, for example, when helping with exercises or activities for coordination.

Directional terms may come up in your career when assisting with exercises from the OT

Directional terms may come up in your career when assisting with exercises from the OT

2. Surface Anatomy Establishes Landmarks for after Occupational Therapy Assistant Courses

When assisting an occupational therapist, you may notice that they use bony landmarks to orient themselves on a client’s body, or use them to communicate with you. Much like geographical landmarks like the CN Tower in Toronto or Fort Henry in Kingston, they are used as reference points (combined with directional terms) to understand the map of the human body and stay oriented. This is also a way to refer to areas of concern or focus in ways that both you and the OT you assist will understand. An example of a bony landmark is the C7 spine at the back of the neck.

3. Palpation Inspects Clients Using Surface Anatomy

Palpation is used by many professionals including osteopaths, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and massage therapists to examine the body by touching its surface. After completing an occupational therapy assistant program, you may notice different methods for gathering information that the OT you assist uses. For example, they may use techniques like asking a client questions or observing how they move. Palpation is another method that requires knowledge of surface anatomy and landmarks, using the hands to feel surface tissues and bony protrusions.

Palpation is a method of gathering information about a client, using touch on the surface of their body

Palpation is a method of gathering information about a client, using touch on the surface of their body

Are you interested in an occupational therapist assistant course?

Contact KLC College for more information!

3 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job as an Occupational Therapy Assistant

become an occupational therapy assistant

As Canada’s population continues to age, the demand for occupational therapy assistants is expected to remain strong. While there are many opportunities for OTAs, landing the best positions depends largely on having your resume noticed by employers.

Creating a great resume for an OTA position is a bit different from creating a resume for other types of jobs. Employers of OTAs are looking for unique skills and experiences, and your resume is your first chance to prove that you have what they’re after. Here are a few tips for crafting a resume to help you get noticed.

1. Put Yourself in an Employer’s Head When Writing Your Resume

If you want your resume to stand out, you need to think like an employer. That means crafting your resume so that it shows employers what you can do for them. When you adopt the mindset of an OTA employer, you will write certain parts of your resume differently than you otherwise would. For example, when talking about your OTA program, don’t just mention that you successfully completed it, as this tells the employer very little about what skills you will bring to the job.

Instead, go into detail about what you learned in your program and how this can benefit the employer. For example, one occupational therapist assistant course you will study is Introduction to Gerontology. If the job you are applying for consists of working with the elderly, highlight what you learned in this course and how it is relevant to the position.

If the position involves working with elderly patients, mention your knowledge of gerontology

2. Use Keywords to Get Your OTA Resume in Front of Human Eyes

Unfortunately, the first person to review your resume may not be a person at all, but rather an applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS typically scans your resume for certain keywords that are important to the employer in order to automatically reject weak candidates. While you won’t have any way of knowing for sure what these keywords are, you can make educated guesses.

For example, if you know the position requires you to mainly work with clients with neurological disorders, be sure to mention that you studied neurological disorders in your program. Specifically, make sure the phrase “neurological disorders” is included in the resume. While you don’t want to stuff your resume with keywords, you should at least make sure you have the ones you think are important sprinkled throughout.

3. Highlight Your Occupational Therapy Assistant Placement Experience

Employers highly value candidates who have experience in the field. While coursework is important, on-the-job experience will help you understand the practical challenges that OTAs face every day. After you complete the theory component of your occupational therapy assistant program, you will complete a 12-week placement. This can occur in private clinics, hospitals, or long-term care facilities.

Even if you’re applying for a position at a different type of facility or working with different types of clients, your placement experience is one of the strongest features of your resume. Employers especially like to see what your achievements were at your placement. So, rather than just listing your job duties, talk about your accomplishments. For example, maybe a client or the occupational therapist you worked under singled you out for praise. You can include this as an accomplishment by mentioning the positive feedback you received during your placement. This shows employers that you’ll make a valuable addition to their team.

Your placement is your chance to highlight your on-the-job experience on your resume

Your placement is your chance to highlight your on-the-job experience on your resume

Do you want to become an occupational therapy assistant?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our programs.

How You Can Help Clients Living with Neurological Disorders After Physiotherapy Assistant Training

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Among the topics you’ll cover if you study physiotherapy or occupational therapy assistant training are the fundamentals of neurological disorders. Neurological disorders are any condition that affects the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, for example. These disorders can cause a wide range of challenges for patients, but physiotherapy and occupation therapy can help to improve their quality of life.

The training you’ll receive in physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistant courses can prepare you to work with clients with neurological disorders. Here are just a few of the ways you can make a difference.

Physiotherapy Helps Patients with Degenerative Diseases Preserve Functions

Recovery is not always a viable option for people with neurological disorders. Specifically, if a patient is battling a degenerative disorder, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or Alzheimer’s disease, then recovering lost functions may not be possible or realistic. Instead, the focus of physiotherapy is often on helping the patient preserve the movements and functions they still have and compensating for functions that have been lost.

For example, people with Parkinson’s may have trouble maintaining balance. A physiotherapist can devise a treatment plan for the patient that includes exercises which are designed to help patients learn how to maintain their sense of balance using their current abilities. Under the direction of the physiotherapist, you can use your physiotherapy assistant training to assist the patient through completing these balance exercises.

Physiotherapy can help patients suffering from neurological disorders improve their balance

Physiotherapy can help patients suffering from neurological disorders improve their balance

Help Stroke Victims Recover When You Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant

Strokes are very common, and currently, about 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term disability due to stroke. Stroke often leads to neurological disorders that require both physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The specific type of disorders vary widely from one stroke patient to another, but some common disorders include weakness on one side of the body, cognitive decline, and problems walking. These challenges can make performing daily activities a challenge.

Broadly speaking, physiotherapy focuses on helping stroke patients regain physical movement, while occupational therapy focuses on helping them participate in and complete activities. If you become an occupational therapy assistant, you can help stroke patients find ways to re-train or compensate for these lost activities. For example, many stroke victims have trouble with short-term memory, which can make daily tasks difficult. An occupational therapist will devise strategies that can help the patient compensate for these memory deficits, such as using memory aids like notice boards and wristbands. As an occupational therapy assistant, you will be able to help patients learn how to use these aids and report their progress back to the occupational therapist.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Can Help with Peripheral Neuropathy

Neurological conditions are not confined to just those that affect the brain. Instead, they are any condition that affects the nervous system. This includes the central nervous system, which is the brain and spinal cord, and the network of nerves located throughout the body called the peripheral nervous system. When the peripheral nervous system is damaged, it is called peripheral neuropathy, which can cause pain, numbness, loss of motor function, increased sensitivity, and many other issues. Peripheral neuropathy is especially common in patients with diabetes.

Physiotherapists may develop a range of exercises for patients with peripheral neuropathy that are designed to increase strength and improve motor functions. Physiotherapy assistants, under the supervision of the physiotherapist, help guide the patient through these exercises. Occupational therapy assistants, meanwhile, may—again under the supervision of the occupational therapist—teach patients how to overcome safety issues during daily tasks, like how to avoid falls while walking.

Physiotherapy can help those with peripheral neuropathy regain strength

Physiotherapy can help those with peripheral neuropathy regain strength

Are you interested in a fulfilling new career?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our occupational therapist assistant course.

Is an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program Right for Me? 5 Ways to Know for Sure

become an occupational therapy assistant

A career as an occupational therapy assistant can be incredibly rewarding for those who are suited to the work. Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an occupational therapist, take a client-centered approach to help people with a variety of injuries, illnesses and disabilities, assisting them in developing, recovering and improving the skills they need to enjoy a fulfilling life and career.

This work might look different from day to day, depending on the setting and the clients. These professionals sometimes help disabled or injured clients with therapeutic activities or exercises to improve their mobility, or guide developmentally disabled children in play activities to promote their coordination and social skills. They might also coach clients in the use of assistive devices, or teach them new skills or strategies for overcoming the challenges presented by their disability.

Whatever form it takes, occupational therapy is a tremendously valuable service for those seeking to assert their independence and develop the skills needed to live their best lives, and occupational therapy assistants play an essential role in that process. With good pay, high and growing demand and training that can be completed in only 44 weeks, occupational therapy is a very promising career path for anyone looking to make a difference in the lives of others.

Here’s how to know for sure if an occupational therapy assistant program is right for you.

Good Communication Skills are Essential in Occupational Therapy Careers

If you want to become an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll need to have good communication skills. These are important for connecting with clients, and providing them with feedback, coaching and guidance. You’ll also be regularly communicating with your supervising occupational therapist and other colleagues.

If you’re good at listening, speaking clearly and giving and taking directions, then you might be well-suited to a career as an occupational therapy assistant.

You Have Good Interpersonal Skills and Enjoy Working with People

Occupational therapy assistants spend all day working with people – clients, colleagues, other specialists and their supervising occupational therapist. If you’re a team player with excellent interpersonal skills and an eagerness to work in a client-centered environment, then you might thrive in this highly personable line of work.

If you enjoy working with people, occupational therapy can be a rewarding career pathIf you enjoy working with people, occupational therapy can be a rewarding career path

If you enjoy working with people, occupational therapy can be a rewarding career path

You Don’t Mind a Job That Keeps You on Your Feet

Once you’ve completed an occupational therapy assistant program, you can expect to engage in fairly regular physical activity in the course of your work. Occupational therapy assistants spend most of their shifts on their feet, setting up equipment, transporting clients, assisting them through their therapy and cleaning up and putting away equipment afterwards, so if you’re interested in this career path, you should be okay with a job that keeps you moving.

You’re Patient, Dedicated and Prepared for Challenges

While it’s a rewarding career, being an occupational therapy assistant isn’t always easy. Clients are often facing very difficult and frustrating challenges, and sessions can sometimes be physically and emotionally draining for both them and their therapists and assistants. Anyone interested in occupational therapy assistant training should be prepared for the unique challenges that come with the work.

Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant If You Want a Job Helping People

Despite the challenges, being an occupational therapy assistant is a fulfilling and gratifying job. You get to help people regain their independence, develop or recover important life skills and overcome their limitations. For anyone who wants to go to work every day and make a tangible difference in the lives of others, this is an excellent career choice.

Occupational therapy assistants get to make a positive impact every day through their work

Occupational therapy assistants get to make a positive impact every day through their work

Are you interested in a rewarding new career as an occupational therapy assistant?

Contact KLC College for more information about our occupational therapist assistant course.

5 Ways to Know if Physiotherapy Assistant Training is the Right Career Move for You

occupational therapist assistant course

Physiotherapy is a key facet of medical treatment, and helping people to maintain or recover their mobility is a truly rewarding experience. As well as carrying out some clinical care duties in the workplace, physiotherapy assistants are astute planners who provide expert advice on correct treatment plans.

It’s a career that suits people looking for an interesting mix of practical and administrative work. We’re always learning something new about the human body, and this constant evolution of knowledge keeps professionals interested and motivated throughout their career. Here’s how to know if physiotherapy assistant training is the right move for you.

Physiotherapy is Fascinating for Those who are Curious About the Human Body

The human body is incredibly complex, and the average person knows very little about what’s actually happening beneath our skin. If you’re fascinated by physiology, then a physical therapy assistant training program is a great career move.

You can use your knowledge to diagnose problems, design treatment programs, and work with physiotherapists to implement them over a short or long-term basis. Whether the client is recovering from a sudden fall, needs treatment for arthritis, or whatever else you are faced with, you will be in the unique position to offer advice and administer help to people in distress.

Clients could need relief from back pain suffered at work or at home

Clients could need relief from back pain suffered at work or at home

Excellent Communication is Important in Physiotherapy Clinics

Do you enjoy interacting with lots of different people during daily life? Because a physiotherapy clinic is a busy place to be, interpersonal skills are very important in this line of work. Clients require detailed instructions as to what they need to do to aid their recovery, and you must also be able to provide work colleagues with treatment updates. The physiotherapy team is wonderful to be a part of, as they all work towards a common goal.

Feed Your Passion for Sport in Physiotherapy Assistant Training

Whether you like watching or playing sport, it’s a passion that can take up so much of our lives. Some people are lucky enough to make it a part of their professional career, too, such as physiotherapy assistants.

In this challenging role, you can help athletes to reach their peak performance levels by working in dedicated sports injury and recovery clinics. It’s a wonderful thrill when you’ve helped a client to return to the playing field and can see them succeed once again after their injury challenges.

Clients Must be Able to Trust Physiotherapy Assistants

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the healthcare sector, so physiotherapy assistants must possess trustworthiness and supreme professionalism. This means respecting a client’s privacy at all times, treating their information with discretion, and ensuring that hard copy and electronic versions of individual client files are updated and stored with care in the workplace.

It’s important to be approachable and conversational with clients, but be professional at all times, too. The people you’re helping may be in some mental as well as physical distress, so provide them with confidence that you’re doing everything possible to help them.

Use Your Organizational Skills to Build an Interesting Career

Graduates of an occupational therapist assistant course are also well trained to handle important administrative work. Excellent organization is needed to develop care plans, maintain adequate stock levels in the workplace, and handle client records. The duties are broad and varied, but you’ll quickly be able to master the role if you possess good organizational skills.

Help clients to recover their mobility as a physiotherapy assistant

Help clients to recover their mobility as a physiotherapy assistant

Looking for a challenging and exciting career?

Find out more about physiotherapy assistant training at KLC College.