Occupational Therapy - Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services
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Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services

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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) involves the therapeutic use of everyday life activities with individuals or populations for the purpose of participation in meaningful and purposeful (occupations) and roles in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings.

OT via telehealth (OT provider looking at a veterans via a comptuer)Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Occupational Therapists and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) provide state-of-the-art and evidence-based care to Veterans and servicemembers.  Occupational Therapy provides services that promote health and wellness to Veterans who have, or are at risk for developing, an injury, illness, disease or condition spanning physical, cognitive, sensory, and psychosocial domains.  Occupational Therapy evaluation and treatment supports Veterans' engagement in everyday life activities that affect their physical, and mental health and well-being. Occupational therapy services are provided at: 

 

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Inpatient settings
  • Community living centers
  • Veterans' homes
  • Tele-rehabilitation

Occupational Therapy covers a broad spectrum of neurological, orthopedic, medical, surgical, and mental (behavioral) health conditions.  Many VHA sites also include specialty services provided by Occupational Therapy, examples include: including:Veteran missing a right hand (hook attached in it's place) is using scissors and doing cratfts

  • Driving and Community Mobility
  • Low Vision
  • Falls Prevention
  • Assistive Technology
  • Wheelchair Seating and Mobility
  • Ergonomics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation
  • Pain Management
  • Women's Health
  • Lymphedema Management
  • Productive Aging
  • Home Modification
  • Hand Therapy
  • Community Reintegration

OT Facts

  • VHA is the single largest employer of occupational therapists, employing more than 1,400 occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants.
    Occupational Therapy practitioners provide Veteran-centric, state-of-the-art and evidence-based care (including telehealth) to over 500 VA sites.
  • OT provides value based and distinct services; no other discipline measures functional, physical, and cognitive skills holistically through occupations. For example, OT assesses safety during performance of basic activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, toileting, etc.) and instrumental activities of daily living (cooking, cleaning, medication management, paying bills).
  • “Occupational therapy is the only spending category where additional spending has a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates” for the three health conditions studied: heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. (AOTA, 2016) https://doi.org/10.1177/1077558716666981 Source: Rogers, A. T., Bai, G., Lavin, R. A., & Anderson, G. F. (2016, September 2).

Occupational Therapist working with a Veteran in a Wheelchair

Education

VHA Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist Assistants must have graduated from a degree program in occupational therapy approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).  Entry-level Occupational Therapy degrees include:

  • Associate degree in Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapy Assistant)
  • Bachelors of Science degree in Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapist) if graduated before 2007
  • Master's degree in Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapist)
  • Doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapist)

American Occupational Therapy and VA Fellowship Programs

VA AOTA accredited Fellowship Programs provide training in a specialized area of practice, and include an AOTA approved curriculum, intensive mentoring, and clinical experience in a focused area of practice. VA Fellowship Coordinator point of contact and “Learn More” information included below.

Occupational Therapy Discipline Lead

Occupational Therapy Field Advisory Council

The Occupational Therapy Field Advisory Council (FAC) is a group of field-based, clinical leaders in Occupational Therapy who advise the Occupational Therapy Discipline Lead in areas of strategic planning, national objectives, and professional trends relevant to Occupational Therapy services within the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Additionally, the FAC provides guidance to the field and helps shape VHA policy and procedures on matters relevant to VHA Occupational Therapy services.  A primary charge to the FAC is to ensure active collaboration between VHA and field operations in Occupational Therapy services.

VHA OT Field Advisory Council Chair

VHA OT Field Advisory Council Members

Occupational Therapy Month

April is National Occupational Therapy Month.  We need your help in not only celebrating our profession, but also using OT Month as an opportunity to spread awareness of the skills we possess and services we provide.   AOTA provides ideas and resources for celebrating OT Month.

Occupational Therapy Career Guide

For more information about VHA OT career opportunities, visit VA OT Career Guide Occupational Therapy Career Guide.

Additional Resources