What do Occupational Therapists do in paediatric home health…

I work as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) is in paediatric home health setting. Every day I drive to see patients at their homes or daycare centers and provide Occupational Therapy input in their own natural setting. I really enjoy my job because I thrive being an independent practitioner, working with my clients on their terms and being the boss of my own schedule.

Home health is an exciting area of practice because of the variety of patients I interact with. Some of the kids can run, jump, and play with me whilst some are bed bound and have limited responses to movement and sensory stimuli – this means I have to adapt my therapeutic approach. The youngest patient I have seen was three months old, whilst the oldest was twenty! It is easy to work on activities such as dressing, toothbrushing, or cooking in the patient’s home and not just games and activities you might see in an outpatient clinic. Each patient’s home is different, so my treatment strategies are always changing. While the freedom with scheduling is a plus, the drive between patients is the best part! I am able to jam out to music or listen to some of my favourite podcasts that make the drive time go by so much faster. It is also a nice break to have in between each patient if I need to brainstorm for my next patient. 

Home health care can also be challenging at times because I am not around co-workers or other therapy disciplines at all. To collaborate within my team, we frequently have to talk through text or email because it is rare that we share the same moments driving between patients to be able to converse over the phone. I frequently have to think on my toes and rely on my own knowledge when I am unsure of what to do. 

I initially experienced some discouragement for entering this area of practice as a new graduate, but I now enjoy the challenge and responsibility. 

This blog is part of our ‘What do Occupational Therapists do…’ series to celebrate OT month.

Author: Emily Shaw

Twitter: @HawtyshawtyShaw

Bio: My name is Emily Shaw and I am a pediatric COTA living in Dallas, Tx! I recently eloped with my husband in the middle of the pandemic. I love spending time with my dog Paisley and working out in the evenings. I am currently attending UT Tyler to earn my Masters of OT.

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