Understanding Occupational Therapy

evMuch of what we know about proper practices and methodology in the world of occupational therapy is advanced by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). AOTA establishes the guidelines for practitioners in the United States. It publishes these guidelines, as well as general information about the practice, in their publication “Framework: Domain and Process.”

The most recent edition, the third edition, was released in 2008. The Framework is a guide for practitioners to assess patients’ needs and help them find better solutions to achieving their goals. It provides the structure for this assessment in three basic steps: Evaluation, Intervention, and Targeting of Outcomes.

Understanding the Framework will allow you to get the most out of your relationship with your medical professional and your treatment. By equipping yourself within the Framework, you can better achieve your goals.

Evaluation

Evaluation is the first part of the discovery process. On paper, the evaluation portion consists of finding out what a patient has done and is able to do. Your practitioner will want to find out what sorts of jobs you’ve held in the past, how you were able to perform those jobs, and whether or not your environment, coworkers, own work ethics, or outside factors contributed to your success or failure at that job. Your doctor might speak to you, people you’ve worked with, or family members to get a clearer picture of what is going to be suitable for you as a worker.

Intervention

According to the AOTA’s Framework, intervention is a collaborative process. After the interviews, you and your practitioner will work together to devise a plan that utilizes your personal strengths in the job market. Part of this plan is finding a compromise between your personal goals and the practical applications of this plan.

Intervention is an attempt to change some habit or action that previously kept you from success. Identifying unwanted or non-vital habits and replacing them with more desirable habits in a safe environment with lots of outside support helps increase the chances that these habits will be maintained as you move into the workforce.

Targeting of Outcomes

Occupational therapy acknowledges that adjusting to the workforce is an ongoing process. It might take multiple plans, or multiple attempts, before the original goals of the practitioner and client are met. This section of the Framework is meant to allow the doctor and patient to modify their approach and change any aspects of the evaluation or intervention plan.

For some people, occupational therapy is a single interaction between client and practitioner that creates a habit. For others, it is the beginning of a lifelong process, with doctor and patient constantly working in tandem to achieve ever-changing goals. In either situation, the hard work of both the specialist and patient leads to success. An understanding of this relationship can help navigate the varied decision-making involved in the day-to-day practice of occupational therapy. The Framework highlights the value of this relationship and can be a useful tool.