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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services (PM&RS) - Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational Therapy (OT)

OT via telehealth (OT provider looking at a veterans via a comptuer)

The core purpose of Occupational Therapy practice is the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) with individuals, groups, communities, and populations to optimize independence, quality of life, and participation in valued life roles. Occupational Therapy services are provided by occupational therapy practitioners which include occupational therapists (OTs) and certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs). VA occupational therapists are licensed independent practitioners who are experts across varied practice settings in habilitation, rehabilitation, and health promotion and disease prevention through the application of their unique clinical lens and use of evidence-based interventions. They concurrently and comprehensively assess and treat physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental factors impacting Veterans’ functional performance. 
    - OT fact sheet (PDF).
    - OT Mental Health fact sheet (PDF)

Occupational therapy helps Veterans reach their full potential through doing, being, becoming, and belonging.

VA Occupational Therapy - Site Navigation 

Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs)

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Occupational Therapists (OTs) 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 and communities
  • Tele-rehabilitation 

Occupational Therapy Specializations:
Occupational Therapy covers a broad spectrum of neurological, orthopedic, medical, pre/post-surgical, and mental (behavioral) health conditions, as well as health promotion, wellness, and management of chronic conditions. Occupational Therapy specializations include:

  • Return to Independent Living in the Home and Community after illness or injury
  • Return to School and Work
  • Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention
  • Home Safety and Accessibility
  • Productive Aging and Aging in Place
  • Independent living to reduce risk of homelessness
  • Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction
  • Driving and Community Mobility
  • Vision Rehabilitation
  • Falls Prevention
  • Assistive Technology
  • Wheelchair Seating and Mobility
  • Ergonomics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation
  • Pain Management
  • Women's Health
  • Lymphedema Management
  • Hand Therapy

Occupational Therapy Key Highlights Occupational Therapist working with a Veteran in a Wheelchair

  • VHA is the single largest employer of occupational therapists, employing more than 2,000 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 unique services; no other discipline holistically measures functional, physical, and cognitive skills through occupations. 
  • “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)  Source: Rogers, A. T., Bai, G., Lavin, R. A., & Anderson, G. F. (2016, September 2).

Points of Contact

Additional Resources

See if an OT career at VA is right for you.

OTs/COTAs are always needed at VA

Whether you’re a new graduate or an experienced professional, OTs/COTAs are always needed at VA.  Whatever opportunity you’re looking to explore as a OT, we have a way to get you exactly where you want to go, both professionally and personally

Find VA locations near you with our facility locator tool:

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