You and Your Occupational Therapist
People who need assistance participating in everyday activities and tasks often benefit from occupational therapy.
Activities of daily living include what we do every day, such as self-care, leisure, education, home management, volunteering and work. You may have difficulty fully participating in activities due to an illness, injury or disability, due to the social, institutional or physical environment, or a combination of reasons.
When you see an occupational therapist, they will assess and evaluate your occupational performance. Your occupational performance refers to your ability to choose, organize, and effectively and safely perform everyday activities.
Once assessed you and your OT will develop a plan together to improve, maintain, or restore your occupational performance and, your health. The plan may include:
- training, education and counselling;
- obtaining aids and other specialized equipment (for example, a wheelchair); or
- evaluating and modifying home, school or work environments.
Occupational therapists provide direct services to individuals of all ages, and may also work with groups and communities. Occupational therapists may also work in the roles of researcher, educator, manager, consultant, advocate or program planner.
Places OTs Work
Occupational therapists provide services where clients live, play or work. People also receive occupational therapy in hospitals, schools, care facilities, community care centres, mental health facilities, clinics, employment and training centres, and private practice offices or clinics. Occupational therapists provide service in other sectors of our society such as corrections, the military and social services.
Cost of Services
In Manitoba, occupational therapists work in public or private practice settings. Occupational therapists in private practice charge a fee for their services, and can be accessed directly by the public. If you are in a hospital, a doctor's referral may be required to access the services of an occupational therapist. These costs are covered by the provincial medical services plan. If you are injured on the job, Workers Compensation may cover the costs of an occupational therapist to help you get back to work. In the case of an accident, your insurance company may hire an occupational therapist on your behalf.
Finding an OT
Occupational therapists working in Manitoba all have had their education confirmed by COTM. It meets the standards outlined in The Occupational Therapists Act.
The Occupational Therapists Act of Manitoba requires COTM to confirm that each occupational therapist working in Manitoba meets a standard level of education. The current standard of education for occupational therapists in Canada is a degree at the Masters level. The University of Manitoba is the only academic institution in the province the prepares occupational therapists. The Department of Occupational Therapy is part of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. The two-year program grants a Master of Occupational Therapy.
Occupational Therapists as Lifelong Learners
COTM members are required to participate in the COTM Continuing Competence Program (CCP). This program is based on the belief that occupational therapists are committed to maintaining and enhancing their knowledge so as to remain up-to-date with new information and practices.
The CCP provides a formal way for the OT to determine areas for improvement through the CCP Self- Assessment, and a plan for acquiring knowledge and experience through the CCP Professional Development Plan.
OTs are also required to participate in the Prescribed Regulatory Education Program (PREP) each year. The PREP provides OTs with important information aimed at protecting the public and ensuring OTs provide safe, ethical and competent services. OTs are expected to complete a learning module, quiz and self-reflection on the practice expectations outlined in each PREP.
The CCP also includes an audit of member participation and compliance with the program requirements. The program is expected to include additional objective reviews and practice audits in the future.
The CCP follows a road map that aims to:
- ensure the continuing competence activities expected of OTs build the confidence of clients in the services they receive, and
- support the commitment of OTs to the public to act as an ethical and effective profession.
The long-term goals of the CCP are:
- OTs are consciously competent and can demonstrate continuing competence, and
- Public and consumer have confidence in the quality of OT services
What can I expect of my occupational therapist?
You can expect your occupational therapist to provide ethical and effective services. To learn more about the regulatory expectations that COTM has of all its members you are encouraged to review the COTM Code of Ethics, the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations Essential Competencies of Practice for Occupational Therapists in Canada and the more detailed practice guidelines and standards of practice.
You are also invited to contact COTM if you want to discuss what you can expect of your occupational therapist.