Occupational therapy (OT) is an allied health profession that involves the therapeutic use of everyday activities, or occupations, to treat the physical, mental, developmental, and emotional ailments that impact a patient’s ability to perform daily tasks.
Healthcare professionals such as occupational therapists are practitioners who use therapeutic techniques to improve, rehabilitate, or maintain a patient’s motor skills and overall ability to perform everyday activities.
Occupational therapy differs from other healthcare professions like physical therapy or nursing in its focus on treating the whole patient, rather than treating a particular injury, ailment, or physical disability. For example, after a surgery a nurse might assist a patient with pain management, dressing changes, and care during recovery. An occupational therapist, on the other hand, will assess the types of activities that are important to the patient and teach them how to become independent again following the surgery, so that they can resume the roles that define who they are.