Occupational Therapy Assistant Training
Rehabilitation services are a necessity for patients that require maximum recovery effort from various physiological and psychological issues. Therefore, Occupational Therapy Assistant Training remains an essential part of the rehabilitation field. Tasks involving day-to-day living and the improvement of each patients overall quality of life are the main focuses of the entire field of occupational therapy. Typically, students that want to enter this field must receive a minimum of an accredited associate degree. Depending on the student, this usually includes a full two-year curriculum of study. However, many rehabilitation programs may require Occupational Therapy Assistant Training or Occupational Therapy Aid Training interchangeably. In the case of Occupational Therapy Aid Training, this usually requires a certain period of on-the-job training to acquire a position and/or certification.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Training Scope
Both Occupational Therapy Assistant Training and Occupational Therapy Aid Training students will receive essentially the same type of practical field experience to prepare them for employment. Of course, Occupational Therapy Assistant Training will focus more on a mixture of classroom teaching, book training, and hands-on training. Even so, the general focus for Occupational Therapy Assistant Training covers a wide spectrum of assistance that may be required to work with a variety of patients. Such training includes learning how to share rehabilitation efforts with the managing occupational therapist, learning proper gate movements, and understanding how to follow outlined instruction and treatment plans. Aids and assistants may also learning general techniques required for health insurance billing, documentation of treatments, the use of rehabilitation equipment during each session, and learning various clerical duties that may be required. More specific training and study may include the following:
- Understanding adult mental and physical disabilities
- Understanding pediatrics skills, techniques and needs
- Gerontology skills, techniques and needs
- Adaptive skills for working in various types of community, office, or clinic settings
- Anatomy and physiology study
- Medical terminology
- Phone etiquette techniques
- Proper protocol for ordering supplies and equipments
- Understanding the chain of action during emergency situations
- CPR and First Aid
- Appointment scheduling
- Assistance versus monitoring of patient activities
- Documenting techniques for patient recovery, plateau and non-improvement
Professional Career Areas and Work Conditions
There are a wide range of areas where fieldwork and employment can take place for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides. Despite rising health care costs, there is still a wide demand for training and fieldwork in nursing facilities, occupational therapist office settings, hospitals and community clinics. However, according to Collegegrad.com more than 29% of employment opportunities for Occupational Assistants and Aids are found within hospitals, while more than 28% of jobs are acquired within fields such as government agencies, individual-family services and home health agencies. Yet, there is still a large proportion jobs that are obtained after Occupational Therapy Training within nurse care facilities and general occupation therapy offices.
Even so, both aides and assistants can find jobs with varying work conditions. For instance, part-time and full time employment is offered at clinics and offices, hospitals and home health facilities. Furthermore, prospective employees may find work that requires assisting one patient only on a daily basis or employment that may require group therapy or a series of individualistic care for multiple patients per day. In general, extended hours or afternoon-evening hours required for patients are usually offered through facilities such as home health and outpatient therapy facilities.
Moreover, occupational therapy aides and assistants must have an adequate degree of muscle strength and lifting ability to perform and assist patients with range-of-motion exercises and other treatment requirements within individual service plans. Therefore, employees must be able to perform the following during a prolonged basis:
- Standing for multiple hours at a time
- Using physical exertion while following treatment plans
- Constant stooping
- Continuous kneeling
- Lifting patients manually and with equipment
- Using proper lifting and treatment techniques that avoid injury.
OTA Training Career Outlook
The field of Occupational Therapy is expected to grow, so there will continue to be a high demand for Occupational Therapy Assistant Training. More specifically, according to the United States Department of Labor within the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than a 29% percent increase in demand for employment within this field between the years of 2008 and 2018. According to the bureau, this increase is due to the demand for services by persons with limited function and disabilities. However, another reason for the demand for occupational therapy assistant training is due to the increase in the elderly population. This increase in the elderly population also includes those within the baby boomer era that will require treatment for rehabilitation and cardiac care treatment. Furthermore, the increase in medical development will allow patients to live longer. Therefore, technological development increases the demand for rehabilitative services by occupational therapy assistants and aides within the future.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/