The Role of Occupational Therapy

By Jason M Carlton

April is National Occupational Therapy Month — held to honor the occupational therapists who help people regain function and develop and maintain the skills they need in their daily lives. The focus in occupational therapy is to help individuals achieve independence in all facets of life. Learn more about the role occupational therapy plays in the lives of people, and the career outlook for occupational therapists.

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Occupational therapists help people develop the “skills for the job of living” necessary for independent and satisfying lives. Occupational therapy practitioners get beyond problems to find solutions that help patients live life to its fullest, including adaptations in how to do a task and helping individuals to alter their behaviors.

By taking the full picture into account - a person's psychological, physical, emotional and social make-up - occupational therapy assists people in:

 - Achieving their goals
 - Functioning at the highest possible level
 - Concentrating on what matters most to them
 - Maintaining or rebuilding their independence
 - Participating in the everyday activities they need to do or that simply make life worth living

Occupational therapy is also a thriving profession: it was voted one of the top 10 healthcare careers, number 14 of ALL jobs! Growth in America’s elderly population is expected to keep the job market for occupational therapists especially favorable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects occupational therapist employment growth of 29 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 32,800 more professionals to the 105,540 existing jobs in this field. Good job prospects help this profession rank in the top half of The Best Jobs of 2014. It was named one of the best jobs in America in terms of predicted growth, and Forbes said it’s one of the best-paying and fastest- growing jobs for women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for occupational therapy practitioners is expected to increase by 26 percent by 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Intermountain Healthcare's occupational therapists customize strategies for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments at home, school, or work, and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive. 

If you see one of the more than 50 occupational therapists at Alta View Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center, LDS Hospital, Riverton Hospital or TOSH, tell them thanks for their service and skill.