Here’s a healthcare revelation: doctors and nurses aren’t the only ones involved deeply in acute care. Occupational therapy professionals, including occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), often have essential roles in the treatment of those with acute (critical) medical conditions. What do OTAs do to help with serious injuries and major illnesses? More than you think!
What Do OTAS Do in Acute Care?
Acute care, in contrast to chronic (long-term care), centers on individuals with a critical medical condition. The role of occupational therapy in acute care settings is on keeping the patient stable and preventing physical and cognitive complications. The occupational therapy plan developed by the occupational therapist is designed to do this, and it’s the OTA who carries out the plan’s activities and recommendations.
A few examples:
From a cost-effective perspective, it’s easy to see why getting OT involved in acute care settings makes sense. In a 2016 study, higher hospital spending on occupational therapy was the only spending categorywhere additional expenditures led to lower readmission rates for patients recovering from heart failure, heart attacks, and pneumonia. The study noted that “occupational therapy places a unique and immediate focus on patients’ functional and social needs.”
What Do OTAs Do Beyond Acute Care?
The central goal of an occupational therapy assistant is to help their clients live as independently as they possibly can. In an occupational therapy assistant school, you learn OT theories and best practices, and how to apply them in real-world situations with clients of all ages.
How OTAs do this varies widely:
What Do OTA Students Do in Occupational Therapy Assistant School?
In occupational therapy assistant school, students are in a two-year program leading to the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in occupational therapy assistant. First up is the completion of 24 college credit hours in general courses like communications, psychology, and health science terminology.
In some cases, previous college coursework can transfer. OTA degree-interested students can also take many of the prerequisite courses online – even science-heavy courses like anatomy and physiology.
What do OTAs do after completing the basic coursework? They enter a professional OTA curriculum with a unique mix:
Getting the two-year OTA degree takes you to an in-demand healthcare career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the OTA profession will expand by 29%between 2016-2016. The OTA salary range – even for newly certified OTAs – rivals some jobs requiring a four-year degree.
What Do OTAs Do? Let CUKC Be Your Guide
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC offers a two-year applied science degree knows as the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant. Students at CUKC typically complete the A.A.S. degree in as little as two years.
Within the occupational therapy assistant school at CUKC, classes and lab time for the occupational therapy assistant degree are combined with extensive fieldwork experience. This on-the-job time gets you ready for the OTA workplace and often includes various workplace settings, from schools to rehab centers, to senior care facilities.
Click here to learn more about the two-year occupational therapy assistant degree at CUKC, or download the free ebook today: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.