People who have trouble participating in day-to-day activities often benefit from occupational therapy.

These activities include what we do everyday, i.e., self-care, leisure, education, home management, volunteering and work. You may have difficulty participating in activities due to an illness or disability, or due to the social, institutional or physical environment.

When you see an occupational therapist, he or she will assess and evaluate your ‘occupational performance’. This means your ability to choose, organize, and effectively and safely perform everyday activities.

Following this, together you and your OT develop a plan to improve, maintain, or restore your occupational performance and your health. The treatment/intervention plan may include:

In addition to direct care to individuals of all ages, occupational therapists may also work with groups and communities assuming the role of researcher, educator, manager, consultant, advocate and/or program planner.

Services typically include:

Occupational Therapists may also provide consultation services to organizations and companies in developing programs (such as return to work or barrier free design programs); and use their professional skills and experience in leadership roles, such as a coordinator of community health organization. The diversity of this profession continues to expand with occupational therapists frequently working in less traditional hospital-based health care roles.

What are the qualifications of occupational therapists?

Occupational therapists are professionals who are university-trained and who have completed a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience. In most provinces, occupational therapists are required to pass a national certification examination before they are eligible to practise independently.

In the province of Nova Scotia, a qualified occupational therapist must be registered with the provincial regulatory body, COTNS.

Working one on one with an Occupational therapist, you may:

Who covers the cost of occupational therapy?

In the province of Nova Scotia you do not require a referral from a physician to be assessed or treated by an Occupational Therapist, however, your family doctor can refer you to an occupational therapist whose services are covered under your provincial medical plan.

If you have private health insurance, check with your insurance company to see if it offers occupational therapy as an extended health care benefit. If you would like to have occupational therapy included as part of your insurance benefit plan, you may wish to write to your insurance company or speak to the people, at your place of work, who are in charge of arranging and/or negotiating the extended health benefit packages.

Occupational Therapy services may be covered by Worker's Compensation and auto insurance plans - check with your provider.

Your employer may cover the cost of an ergonomic assessment or jobsite analysis, by an Occupational Therapist, as a means of identifying risks for workrelated injuries and/or proposing modifications to your worksite to enhance work safety and productivity.

As well, there are many self-employed occupational therapists who can offer you competitive rates for their services. To find a self-employed occupational therapist, check the yellow pages of your local telephone directory.