Occupational therapy is a rehabilitation program that helps patients perform the daily duties and operations that are important to them and are necessary for their lifestyles. During an occupational therapy assessment, the therapist conducts an interview with the patient and determines his or her ability to conduct self care and to participate in productivity and leisure activities. Self care includes hygiene, grooming, eating, sleeping, taking care of a home and getting from one place to another. Productivity refers to school, work and volunteer activities, while leisure can include a broad range of the patient’s interests and activities, including various community groups.
An occupational therapy assessment looks at a patient’s physical, mental and psychological abilities. The therapist determines how competent the patient is in each of these areas to determine the amount of therapy needed for each individual. An assessment will also typically include a planning and group intervention stage, during which the therapist makes an initial plan for the patient’s occupational therapy program, which may or may not include having the patient participate in a larger group setting. This plan can and should be adjusted as the therapist and patient spend more time together, and the patient’s needs unfold over time.
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After an initial meeting and interview, an occupational therapy assessment can be extended to functional, home and standardized assessments. Functional assessments analyze which parts of daily functions give patients the most trouble, whether it is cooking, using public transportation or picking out an outfit. Home assessments are important to learn more about the environment the patient comes from. Many elements in the home may contribute to a patient’s inability to function on some level, making occupational therapy programs a necessity. A standardized occupational therapy assessment comes in the form of a test, such as the Cognitive Competency Test (CCT), which measures a patient’s current functions and abilities in different areas.
An occupational therapy assessment begins when a physician evaluates a patient and determines a need for this type of rehabilitation program. The doctor must write a detailed description of the patient’s circumstances and reasons for needing therapy, along with goals that the therapy should provide. This is then delivered to an occupational therapy facility, and a therapist is assigned to a specific patient. Often, occupational therapy assistants may come along on assessments to gain more experience in their new field. Sometimes students in occupational therapy school will also help with assessments to complete the fieldwork portion of their degree requirements.