A Day in the Life of an Occupational Therapist

If you have ever had an injury or have physical ailment, then you may have been referred to an Occupational Therapist.

The career of an OT is very much people-focused, as they work with people affected by injuries, disabilities, physical challenges or developmental delays. They evaluate, plan, organise, and prepare programs for rehab, to restore important living skills, and improve a person's independence.

A typical day for an OT varies greatly, however, a few of the tasks they may undertake on any given day include:

  • Review patients’ medical histories, ask them questions, and observe them completing tasks.
  • Evaluate and treat patients’ physical and mental abilities.
  • Analyse medical data to set rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Develop treatment plans for patients’ by identifying activity types that will help patients reach their rehabilitation goals.
  • Assist individuals with various disabilities to perform different tasks like dressing themselves.
  • Recommend patient handling equipment (like quick raisers and ceiling hoists) and help people learn how to use them.
  • Demonstrate exercises that can help patients relieve their chronic pain.
  • Educate patients’ families and employers about how to accommodate them.
  • Train caregivers in delivering quality care to their patients during and after therapy.
  • Plan, organise, and conduct occupational therapy programs in hospital, clinics or community living locations.
  • Choose activities that will help persons learn life-management and work-related skills within the limits of their mental and physical capabilities.
  • Make recommendations about beneficial changes that should be made in the individuals’ living and work environments to generate improvements in health and wellbeing.
  • Assess and record patients’ activities and progress.
  • Complete and maintain patient evaluations for billing and reporting to physicians and other health professionals on each patient’s team.

An OT's typical day at work also includes:

  • Daily telephone conversations with patients, caregivers, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Having team meetings to design treatment plans and plan other related activities.
  • Making decisions each day related to patient care and other professional duties.
  • Lifting and moving patients and/or heavy equipment.

There are also several specialised responsibilities of an OT, including:

Assisting Patients With Permanent Disabilities

An occupational therapist works with patients and carers on how to use appropriate equipment, like floor hoists, slings, quick raisers and aids.

These sorts of patient handling equipment help patients to perform several daily tasks and regain some degree of independence.

Working With Children In Schools

Several occupational therapists provide therapeutic services to children within the school system. They assess children’s physical and cognitive abilities, modify classroom equipment to effectively accommodate children with disabilities, and help children participate in school activities.

These occupational therapists may also provide early intervention therapy to infants and toddlers who either have or are at risk of having developmental delays.

Aged Care Occupational Therapy

Some occupational therapists help elderly patients live independently and actively.

They evaluate each patient’s abilities and environment to make recommendations that will improve their daily life. For example, an occupational therapist may help identify potential fall hazards in a patient’s home and recommend their remediation.

Assisting Employees at Work

Some occupational therapists help to design functional work environments. They evaluate the workspace and recommend modifications.

In some instances, they will meet with a patient’s employer to collaborate on the essential modifications to that individual’s work environment or schedule.

Mental Health Interventions

Occupational therapists also serve in mental health institutions, where they assist patients who suffer from mental illnesses, emotional problems, and developmental disabilities. They teach patients vital skills such as time management, budgeting, navigating public transport, and completing household chores. 

Working on a Healthcare Team

Occupational therapists are an important part of every healthcare team. They are employed in hospitals and work alongside doctors, registered nurses, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, and other medical professionals.

Occupational therapists also oversee the work of occupational therapy assistants and aides.


The career of an OT is jam packed and can be very rewarding. At LiftAbility we work with many OT's to support their clients and patients with quality patient handling equipment including floor hoists, ceiling hoists, slings, quick raisers, gantry's and more. 

To find out more about how we can help you, email admin@lift-ability.com.au


Additional information sourced from onthewards.com