Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Occupational Therapy Definition:

The employment and function assessment and treatment of post-injury, illness or disability.

Occupational therapy is an essential component of successful post-injury recovery. Expert evidence of occupational therapy allows a court of law to assess, through the eyes of the expert and to the extent that it may be accepted by the court, an individual's prognosis as regards a return to the workplace or, generally, the ability to be retrained.

According to the American Medical Association, occupational therapy is defined as:

"... the use of purposeful activity and intervention to achieve functional outcomes to maximize the independence and the maintenance of any individual who is limited by a physical injury or illness, a cognitive impairment, a psychosocial dysfunction, a mental illness, a developmental or learning disability, or an adverse environmental condition.

"(Occupational therapy)... services are based on assessment methods, including the use of skilled observation or the administration of standardized or non-standardized tests and measurements.... [S]ervices include, but are not limited to, the assessment, treatment, and education of, or consultation with, the individual, family or other persons; interventions directed towards developing daily living skills, work readiness or work performance, play skills or leisure capacities, or enhancing educational performance skills, providing the development of sensory-motor, perceptual or neuromuscular functioning, or range of motion; and emotional, motivational, cognitive, or psychosocial components of performance....

"Occupational therapy services may require assessment of the need for and use of interventions such as the design, development adaptation, application, or training in the use of assistive technology devices (and/or) the use of ergonomic principles (and/or) the adaptation of environments and processes to enhance functional performance; or the promotion of heath and wellness".

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