Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement. (WFOT 2012)


Occupational therapists have a broad education in the medical, social behavioural, psychological, psychosocial and occupational sciences that equips them with the attitudes, skills and knowledge to work collaboratively with people, individually or in groups or communities. Occupational therapists can work with all people, including those who have an impairment of body structure or function owing to a health condition, or who are restricted in their participation in everyday activities including work.

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life; In occupational therapy, occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life.

Occupational therapists

  • Use specialized assessments to determine the functional requirements of various jobs, and clients’ capacity to return to work.
  • Designing and coordinating graded return to work programs.
  • Educating clients in safe work practices.
  • Modifying the work environment to suit the needs of individuals so as to prevent or minimize injuries.
  • Liaise between the employer and the injured worker to assess meaningful and suitable duties that are of value to the workplace and the employee

Occupational therapists can support return to work by focusing on what the worker can do within their medical restrictions rather than what the worker can’t do.

OT’s encourage self management as early as appropriate and address the management of physical, environmental or psychosocial issues and contributing factors to minimize the risk of reoccurrence of injury.

OT’s provide education in safe biomechanics, work simplification, activity scheduling and pacing of activities and use of equipment where relevant.