What do Occupational Therapists do in rehabilitation departments…

A typical work day for me begins at 7:30am in an inpatient rehabilitation department. The Occupational Therapy department I work in includes four Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, one Occupational Therapist and one Occupational Therapy Technician. We provide services to up to twenty-two patients at the rehabilitation unit and each patient receives ninety minutes of therapy daily, although this can vary, depending on the patient’s needs. 

I normally start my day by reviewing the patients I am responsible for that day, charts and evaluations. The first three patients I see before lunch typically are scheduled for “dressing” activities meaning this session involves showering, dressing, grooming and any other self-care activities of daily living they want and need to do that day.

At noon, my team enjoys a brief 30 minute break for lunch. I really value this time with my co-workers where we can share stories about our day; this includes speech therapists and physical therapists.

After lunch, we typically have two more patients each and are finished by 3:30pm. This short little blurb makes my day sound very easy but in reality, there are a lot of difficult aspects of my job. Firstly, a lot of my patients are very weak or fresh out of surgeries and require a lot of physical assistance. I also frequently have to deal with agitated behaviour and confused presentation, which can be physically and mentally challenging. For support, I reach out to my colleagues and discuss any issues during supervision.

I aim to provide diversity on the ward by offering activities such as bingo for the patients which include prizes – which my team donates money for (items include shower gel, word searches, pens, coloured pencils, etc.) and on other days I try and create an easy and reasonably priced craft session that the patients can participate in. Most patients love making something to take to their rooms and treasure. 

There are many difficult parts of this particular setting of OT but it is hands down my favourite aspect of Occupational Therapy. I love my patients, the fast paced culture, and ever changing learning I experience.  

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

Author: Kastley Greer

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