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  • Writer's pictureMegan Greensmith

What does Occupational Therapy Involve?

Occupational Therapy is an evolving and diverse profession that encompasses the values to help others achieve their desired goals.

So, what does Occupational Therapy involve?

What does Occupational Therapy Involve?

Before getting into the topic of what Occupational Therapy involves, first, it is important to understand what occupations are. Occupations are simply what we do in our everyday lives and activities we find enjoyable. For example, an occupation can be as simple as getting ready in the morning, cleaning the house, or going to school. Occupations include activities of daily living, working, volunteering, education, social participation, sleep and rest, and leisure activities. Occupational therapy involves enabling others to participate in these meaningful occupations across the life span.

To be as client-centered as possible occupational therapy involves detailed assessment and client-specific goals and interventions. The interventions will aim to work on the client’s limitations and work towards individualized goals, to help achieve desired outcomes.

What can I expect from Occupational Therapy?

All areas of occupational therapy will focus on client-centered care, that aims to promote each individual’s health and well-being. Due to the many different areas of occupational therapy, the process will differ slightly over each domain, however will likely follow a similar structure. This structure involves:

  1. Information gathering

  2. Assessment

  3. Intervention

  4. Re-evaluation

  5. Continued intervention or discharge

So what can you expect when seeing an occupational therapist?

You can expect that when going to see an occupational therapist (OT) your treatment will be made specifically to your needs and goals. OT’s pride themselves in providing client-centered and tailored interventions to ensure the goals of the participant are being met. OT’s will work with you to provide the best possible care.

You can expect that when you first see an OT, there will likely be an assessment process to understand your needs and goals. These assessments are likely observations and standardised assessments to assist in formulating individualised interventions to ensure goals are being met.

An occupational therapy intervention will vary across contexts and will be dependent on the participant's needs. Therefore, interventions can be over weeks or years and will evolve as the participant progress. After the recommended length of intervention has come to an end, the OT will re-evaluate by assessing your progress and establish whether there is a need for continued intervention or if you can be discharged.

The discharge will be recommended if all of your goals have been met and if you, yourself are happy with your progress. The discharge will occur when you are is safe and able to complete your meaningful daily tasks safely. This can be achieved by practicing the skill, so you are performing at your pre-injury function or can be done through having additional aids or having modified methods to perform a task successfully.

What are the different areas of Occupational Therapy?

OT’s are involved in many diverse areas of practice and work with people of all ages. The areas that OT’s can work in include:

  • Paediatrics

  • Hospital

  • Rehabilitation

  • Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Hand Therapy

  • Aged Care

  • Disability (Private and NDIS)

  • Private practice

  • Aged care

  • Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA)

Occupational therapy in Perth includes all of these services listed above, with multiple practices all over Perth. In Perth, the occupational therapy profession is growing rapidly and the demand for OT’s has grown significantly over the past several years.

Additionally, to this, in the current climate of the NDIS growing and adapting, job opportunities have become more abundant and the need for OT’s in this sector is in great demand. NDIS or the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a scheme that provides people with disabilities (aged 7 – 65) funding to support their everyday living. The NDIS is involved in most areas of practice for individuals under the age of 65, and this is the reason for the growing demand for therapists. The NDIS can be involved in the paediatric, hospital, private practice, vocational rehabilitation, and disability settings. Individuals above the age of 65 are no longer legible for NDIS funding, however, they can be a part of different funding schemes. The two main areas of funding in aged care is ACAT (Aged care assessment team) to assess the need for funding and support for safe and independent living; and DVA, for those who are/ have been members of the defence force in Australia.

What are some occupational therapy activities for adults?

Occupational Therapy in the adult setting involves a range of activities and interventions. The areas of practice that include adult interventions will be in the hospital, disability sector (NDIS and private), hand therapy, rehabilitation, and aged care. Specifically for each sector activities can include but are not limited by:


  • Upper limb exercise

  • Practicing safe showering and dressing (either independently or with carers or assistive aids)

  • Practicing meaningful daily activities such as making cups of tea or cooking a simple meal

  • Eye-tracking exercises

  • Cognitive activities

  • Practicing using aids for dressing, eating, showering, and most other areas of self-care

Hand therapy:

  • Upper limb exercises (often including theraputty exercises)

  • Provision of splints

  • Scar massage and management of scarring

  • Education about safe upper limb use when injured

Disability sector:

  • Practicing everyday living skills such as cooking, cleaning, and grooming

  • Assessment, application, and provision of assistive technology. Along with practicing the use of assistive technology such as electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters

  • Assessment, application, and provision of low-cost aids such as tipping kettles, modified jar openers, and built-up cutlery.

  • Home modifications – assessment, applications, and modifying to ensure homes are accessible.

  • Social skill teachings

  • Higher-order thinking skills (e.g. money management)


  • Assessment, application, and provision of assistive technology. Along with practicing the use of assistive technology such as electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

  • Assessment, application, and provision of low-cost aids such as dressing sticks and cushions.

  • Pressure care intervention and education

  • Involvement in crafts, gardening, social events, and games to facilitate participation in meaningful tasks.

For any extra information please don’t hesitate to contact iThrive on (08) 9381 2614

2/178 Railway Parade, West Leederville 6007

Book an appointment today!

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