A day in the life of an OT…

A day in the life of an OT…

Occupational Therapists work with an astonishing range of clients and situations. Below is an anecdotal list of different types of OTs I have met or worked with, noting the similarities and differences between their specialisms and working environments.


Independent self-employed OT

OTs who have set up their own practice, for example one who provides assessment and treatment for children with autism or cerebral palsy. These are often in ‘role-emerging’ areas such as home adaptation consultancy for housing associations (eg http://www.viva-access.com/), or providing animal therapy services (eg www.nurture-dogs.co.uk).

Essex County Council

OTs are self-employed and work on a freelance basis. Jobs are put out by the council and OTs accept them as they wish; they are priced according to how complex or faraway the patient is. A difference here is that OTs therefore work independently which means they don’t have support of a team, must achieve their supervision needs independently, and ensure tax is paid. On the flip side it is a very flexible way of working as you can accept or decline work as you wish on a a week-to-week basis, balancing how much time you have spare vs how much money you wish to earn.

Palliative care and Oncology OT

St Helenas Hospice

Working with people who have terminal illnesses, either who have come to spend time at the hospice or who are remaining in their home and have changing needs as their illness progresses. This could be running groups (with the aim of eg relaxation, education or social support) or providing 1:1 interventions involving education around managing a progressing disease (eg pacing techniques for someone with COPD), or grading/adapting the environment to allow tasks to continue to be carried out during advancing illness.


These OTs work in a small timeframe of 4 hours to assess someone whether they are suitable to be allowed home safely- this means it focuses heavily on discharge planning or referral to another appropriate service.

Learning Disability OT- Community

Mental Health OT – Community