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Verify an OTR® or COTA®
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What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy focuses on helping people participate in the meaningful activities they need and want to do after an injury, disability, or other health condition. It uses a holistic approach to look not only at why a client’s participation in activities has been impacted but also at the client’s roles and environment. Treatment strategies include wellness promotion, rehabilitation, and habilitation. The occupational therapy professional assists the client in regaining function or adapting to changes by assessing and addressing all aspects of recovery, not just the physical.

What It Means to Be an OTR® or COTA®

Occupational therapy professionals who are certified with NBCOT will have one of the following credentials:

  • OTR® - Occupational Therapist Registered
  • COTA® - Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

OTR and COTA professionals have completed occupational therapy education and passed a national certification exam. They have agreed to follow NBCOT’s Practice Standards and Code of Conduct, and to fulfill continual professional development requirements. Only those who maintain an Active in Good Standing status with NBCOT can use the OTR or COTA credential. OTR and COTA professionals are committed to providing safe and effective services to all clients.

Role of the OTR and COTA

The OTR and COTA work collaboratively. The OTR evaluates the client, plans therapeutic interventions and completes discharge documents. The OTR also provides clinical supervision of the COTA. The COTA implements and documents the therapeutic interventions, and provides feedback to the OTR on the client's progress during treatment. 

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Questions to Ask Your Therapist

Making any decision that affects your health and well-being—or that of a loved one—can seem daunting. When it comes to making choices for occupational therapy, NBCOT recommends that you ask the following questions to decide if a person or facility is right for you.

Are your certifications current?
NBCOT's certification program ensures that occupational therapy professionals are qualified and prepared to perform the required services. To maintain certification, OTR and COTA professionals are required to invest in their professional development and adhere to the Code of Conduct.

What is your educational background, and how familiar are you with this condition?
Ask about any certifications, training, or experiences that may address the patient’s specific issue(s). Choose an occupational therapy professional who can speak intelligently on the subject. Remember that experience counts, but the person selected should also be a good “fit” for you or your loved one.

How do you keep current?
This question will help you assess an occupational therapy professional’s curiosity, interests, and familiarity with the latest research and evidence-based treatment programs.

What is your plan of action?

Look for an occupational therapy professional who presents a holistic, creative, and specialized approach. He/she should provide written goals before treatment; this will enable everyone involved to evaluate the patient’s progress.

How can I help?

A successful therapy program often relies on a strong support system, especially as patients transition to life outside the therapy facility or office. It is important to understand what is required of both the patient-therapist and patient-caregiver relationships to ensure the best outcomes.

Can you provide me with references?

Independent verification of the occupational therapy professional’s performance record will go a long way to creating a more trusting relationship.

Many times, the choice of an occupational therapy professional also requires the patient and his/her loved ones to consider a rehabilitation or long-term care facility. These questions can help guide that process. 

Is the facility as a whole accredited?
Request information on which authority has certified the facility’s services.

How does management measure quality?
Knowing which benchmarks a facility employs to measure performance and how they compare to local and national averages will help you understand the level of care you can expect to receive.

How satisfied are your clients?
Ask if the facility regularly conducts client satisfaction surveys or if they have been evaluated by an independent firm.

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