An occupational therapist (OT) is trained in the practice of occupational therapy.
The role of an occupational therapist is to work with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of “purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence.”
A practical definition for OT can also be illustrated with the use of models such as the Occupational Performance Model (Australia), known as the OPM(A). At the core of this approach is the ideology that occupational therapists are concerned with the occupations of people and how these contribute to health. Specifically it is a person’s occupational performance that influences their health and personal satisfaction of their individual needs. The OPM(A) is constructed on the following definition of Occupational Performance:
“The ability to perceive, desire, recall, plan and carry out roles, routines, tasks and sub-tasks for the purpose of self-maintenance, productivity, leisure and rest in response to demands of the internal and/or external environment.”
It can be seen that occupational performance, the roles it creates for a client, and the areas it can encompass are so far-reaching that an occupational therapist can work with a wide range of clients of various limitations who are being cared for in an array of settings. Occupational therapy is about helping people do the day-to-day tasks that “occupy” their time, sustain themselves, and enable them to contribute to the wider community. It is these opportunities to “do” that occupational therapy provides that prove important and meaningful to the health of people.