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A day in the life on an Occupational Therapy Assistant

What drew you to become an OT assistant (OTA)?
I actually became an OTA by accident. I knew I felt at ease talking to strangers and had an ability to gain people’s trust and would relax in my presence in a short period of time. I originally wanted to work with families dealing with the dying of a loved one, support and guide them through this process, but found that that role did not exist. 
My Aunty has her PhD in Nursing and she suggested the idea of me becoming an OTA.

I have also been exposed to many environments, different cultures, and personalities and I have learnt how to be flexible in working with all types of people so I knew something people-centred would be for me.

I felt comfortable in my own abilities to facilitate an environment in which people benefit from therapeutic input with a purpose.

What is the difference between an OT and an OTA?
Occupational Therapy Assistants are the eyes and ears for the Occupational Therapist as our face-to-face contact is considerably more and nearly always other information arises in these sessions. We then handover any information to OT which could possibly require further input by OT.

An Occupational Therapist will usually have assessed the client and come up with a treatment plan based on the person’s goals and needs. An Occupational Therapy Assistant will then work with the client on that treatment plan, identifying the person’s motivations and turning challenges into strengths.

What do you find the most rewarding part of the job?
Seeing a person genuinely smile and laugh is the most beautiful outcome.

Watching a person using the strategies I have helped with and allowing them to take control of their life, reach their goals and live a life with optimal functioning and purpose. 

8.30am – Leave home and drive to my first client.
My client is a young man with schizophrenia. We are working on developing life skills. Today we went through his diary like we do every week so he can organise his life, goals and gratitudes. Today the focus was cooking, we made curried sausages. This is a great activity to do with clients to teach them life skills, safety, budgeting, problem solving, sequencing. It’s great as an OTA to have extended time with clients to be able to build rapport, develop their self-confidence, self-esteem and facilitate realisation of potential independence. 

12pm – I drive to my next client.
My client was a young woman with multiple mental and physical health diagnoses. We are working on developing life skills. Today we worked on her weekly structure using a paper copy timetable so she is able to write it all out and adjust. This includes personal hygiene, appointments, home management tasks, social activities plus time to practice coping techniques we are practising – with the aim of her accessing community activities.

2.30pm – I leave clients home and drive home.

3pm – Arrive home.
I enter progress notes for above clients, update client appointments, researching information and advocate on behalf of clients through emailing case Managers if necessary to update them. I do any other administration tasks, such as responding to emails and online training I have to do too.

Finish for the day.

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