What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

Professions such as being a nurse, a physiotherapist or a social worker are clear to us, but a lot of people are not familiarised with what occupational therapists do and how they could help patients to improve their well-being.

It is extremely important that their role is known and therefore it is considered in certain situations, like a rehabilitation. Their counsel will be decisive to adapt, regain confidence and recover faster.

Where to find an OT

There are approximately 26,000 OT practitioners in the UK. You can contact one through the national health and social care services. If you can afford it, reaching a private occupational therapist through this search tool is another option.

OT job position

An occupational therapist (OT) enables people with a mental or physical condition to do their daily tasks as independently as possible. The patient is interviewed, their environment is assessed (home, school, work, other activities) and some guidance is provided.

This professional will give personalised recommendations on different ways to do things, as well as useful changes or devices that would be helpful. People with disabilities can apply for council grants to alter their houses. Occupational therapists design programmes, suggest techniques and coach on getting beyond difficulties. 

OT specialities

Maybe trauma and orthopaedics is the specialist branch that people commonly relate to OT practise. Nevertheless, there are several occupational therapy specialties. The types will be different according to the perspective.

  • Drawing of a health professional, like an OT practitionerIf we focus on the illness, there are OT practitioners specialised in rheumatology, mental health, neurological or palliative care, among others.

  • Depending on age, they can work with children or the elderly

  • Based on the purpose of the facility, we can seek experts on housing or working environment.

  • Masters about a specific part of the body, cross specialists know a lot about hands or back pain.

  • Depending on what else is involved in the treatment, some practitioners propose animal-assisted therapy (AAT).

OT training and professional bodies

To become an occupational therapist in the United Kingdom, one must first obtain academic qualifications approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It is normally a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours), studying three or four years. In case of having other education and experience in the healthcare field, a two-years postgraduate could be enough.

After the studies are completed, in order to be able to practise occupational therapy, the next step is to register with the HCPC. Knowledge should be kept updated and conduct be ethical. The later step is to become member of the British Association of OTs (BAOT/COT).


Occupational therapists solve practical problems, for example how to take a shower safely, how to prevent falls or how to reduce risks when cooking. Some social services also employ trusted assessors whose expertise is more specific: to prepare households.

If new handicaps come up in our lives or somebody's we care about, let's remember there are professionals that know how to adapt our world to most health states.

In IFS, we supply safety handrails and Doc M packs for bathrooms, showers and toilets, suitable for accessible areas, so that users can feel less restricted when doing their routines. Our store has also easy to operate automatic products like touchless soap dispensers, sensor taps or hand dryers for accessible toilets. We intend to give appropriate information in our product pages and with the advice our team delivers. Please, contact us by this contact form or phone if you have any question.

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Written by: Paula Martinez

Read more about Paula here

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