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Roles and Responsibilities

 
 

Roles And Responsibilities Of The Occupational Therapy Assistant
During The Delivery Of Occupational Therapy Services

 

The following statements, which describe the specific roles and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant during service delivery, are provided with the understanding that the delivery of occupational therapy services occurs collaboratively between the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant. These are broad statements and meant to apply across practice settings. It is understood that variations may be necessary from setting to setting within the boundaries of these statements.

 

This document will be used when developing and revising future official documents and provides immediate guidelines concerning role delineation and supervision parameters to occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and external audiences.

 

General Statements Regarding Roles And Responsibilities During The Delivery Of Occupational Therapy Services

  • The occupational therapist is responsible for the overall delivery of occupational therapy services and is accountable for the safety and effectiveness of the occupational therapy service delivery process.
  • The occupational therapy assistant delivers occupational therapy services under the supervision of the occupational therapist.
  • It is the responsibility of the occupational therapist to be directly involved in the delivery of the services during the initial evaluation and regularly throughout the course of intervention.
  • Services delivered by the occupational therapy assistant are specifically selected and delegated by the occupational therapist. When delegating to the occupational therapy assistant, the occupational therapist considers the following factors:
    • the complexity of the client's condition and needs
    • the knowledge, skills, and competence of the occupational therapy assistant
    • the nature and complexity of the intervention
  • Prior to delegation of any aspect of the service delivery process to the occupational therapy assistant, service competency must be demonstrated and documented between the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant. Service competency is demonstrated and documented for clinical reasoning and judgment required during the service delivery process as well as for the performance of specific techniques, assessments, and intervention methods used. Service competency must be monitored and reassessed regularly.
  • The role delineation and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant remain unchanged regardless of the settings in which occupational therapy services are delivered (i.e., traditional, non-traditional, or newly emerging practice setting).

 

Roles and Responsibilities During Evaluation

  • The occupational therapist directs the evaluation process.
  • The occupational therapist is responsible for making the initial contact during the occupational therapy evaluation. In the initial contact, the occupational therapist:
    • Determines the need for service
    • Defines the problems within the domain of occupational therapy that need to be addressed
    • Determines the client's goals and priorities
    • Establishes intervention priorities
    • Determines specific further assessment needs
    • Determines specific assessment tasks that can be delegated to the occupational therapy assistant
  • The occupational therapy assistant contributes to the evaluation process by implementing specifically delegated assessments for which service competency has been established.
  • The occupational therapist interprets the information provided by the occupational therapy assistant and integrates that information into the evaluation decision-making process.
  • Regardless of the skill set of the occupational therapy assistant, the occupational therapist initiates and completes the evaluation, interprets the data, and develops the intervention plan.

 

Roles and Responsibilities During Intervention Planning

  • The occupational therapist is responsible for the development of the occupational therapy intervention plan.
  • The occupational therapist develops the plan collaboratively with the client.
  • The occupational therapy assistant provides input into the intervention plan as appropriate.

 

Roles and Responsibilities During Intervention Implementation

  • Implementation of the occupational therapy intervention is the responsibility of the occupational therapist.
  • The occupational therapist may delegate aspects of the occupational therapy intervention to the occupational therapy assistant. Delegation will be dependent on the occupational therapy assistant's demonstrated and documented service competency.
  • The occupational therapy assistant implements delegated aspects of intervention in which service competency has been demonstrated and documented.
  • All aspects of intervention delegated to the occupational therapy assistant will be supervised by the occupational therapist.

 

Roles and Responsibilities During Intervention Review

  • The occupational therapist is responsible for determining the need for continuing or discontinuing services.
  • The occupational therapy assistant contributes to this process by providing information about the client's response to intervention that will further inform the occupational therapist's decision making.

 

Roles and Responsibilities Around Outcome Evaluation

  • The occupational therapist is responsible for the selection and measurement of outcomes that are related to the client's ability to engage in occupations.
  • The occupational therapy assistant is responsible for being knowledgeable about the client's targeted occupational therapy outcomes and for providing information related to outcome achievement.

 

Developed by the Commission on Practice, January 2002

Adopted by the Representative Assembly 2002M8

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