Support / Professional Services

Occupational Therapy

Image of occupational therapists on the St. Michael's Hospital helipad

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational Therapy promotes health and well-being by enabling people to participate in daily activities, or ‘occupations’ that gives meaning and purpose to their lives. Occupations include the categories of self-care (e.g. bathing, dressing), work/productivity (e.g. paid work, volunteer roles), and leisure (e.g. gardening, reading).

How do occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants help our patients?

Occupational therapists (OTs) assess not only the physical effects of an injury or disease but also address the cognitive, emotional and spiritual factors that challenge a person’s ability to function in their environment. Occupational therapists are health-care professionals regulated by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.

Occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) are support personnel with training in occupational therapy interventions. They work collaboratively with occupational therapists to provide support and treatment to patients.

Some examples of occupational therapy assessments and interventions include:

  • Assessing patients’ abilities to complete basic daily activities and making recommendations for various equipment needs (e.g., toileting or bathing).
  • Assessing and recommending wheelchair/mobility aids
  • Assessing for positioning while in bed or in a wheelchair
  • Educating on new ways to complete activities like dressing or cooking when there is arm or leg weakness
  • Fabricating custom-made splints to improve upper or lower extremity function
  • Linking clients to various community resources (e.g., rehabilitation, CCAC)
  • Making recommendations to facilitate medication management
  • Providing strategies to improve safety by modifying the hospital, home or work environment
  • Providing coping strategies to help manage stress and facilitating mindfulness meditation workshops
  • Recommending therapeutic surfaces to minimize the development of pressure injuries
  • Suggesting activities to help remediate cognitive and perceptual skills (e.g. problem solving, memory)
  • Teaching patients how to complete functional transfers with equipment or assistance (e.g., car or commode transfers). 

Where do occupational therapists and occupational therapists assistants work in St. Michael’s?

Occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants work in many different areas of the hospital including:

Occupational therapists also work within our community mental health programs including:

Teaching and education

Our occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants are committed to the educational mandate of St. Michael’s Hospital. Many occupational therapists hold status appointment in the Rehabilitation Science Department at the University of Toronto. We accept master’s level OT students from the University of Toronto and McMaster University and OTA students from Humber, Mohawk and Centennial colleges. OTs and OTAs are involved in educational initiatives at St Michael’s, local colleges and universities and in the community.

Resources

College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists

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