Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Help People as an Occupational Therapist Assistant/ Physiotherapy Assistant

If you are passionate about encouraging people and have the patience to understand that sometimes progress might be slow, you may be well suited for a career as an occupational therapist assistant/physiotherapist assistant. In this role, you will be vital in helping developmentally and physically challenged people to gain the skills they need to attain independence and a better quality of life.

Occupational therapy assistants and physiotherapy assistants work under registered occupational therapists and physiotherapists to support a variety of people. Whether the person has lost his or her ability to function because of an injury, the aging process, or a developmental or emotional disability, it is vital to help him or her attain a normalcy in life. Therefore, aside from being encouraging, occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) and physiotherapist assistants (PTAs) must possess some specific traits. First, they must be able to respect and care about the uniqueness of individuals. People in this profession may work with the elderly, who may not be as motivated to go on or perhaps with people who don’t speak the language or maybe even children who have had a traumatizing experience and are acting out. The assistant must respect these people and not lose his or her cool when treatment becomes difficult. This goes hand-in-hand with having the ability to communicate. Physiotherapist assistants and occupational therapist assistants must know how to effectively deal with a variety of people. Also, critical thinking and decision-making are required. You must make quick, informed decisions after critically assessing the situation and patient. Lastly, due to the nature of the profession, OTAs and PTAs must be able to tolerate regular physical activity.

Attending a diploma program, such as Centennial College's Occupational Therapist Assistant/ Physiotherapy Assistant program, helps you to attain such skills. The program prepares you for work in a wide range of settings such as: hospitals, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, schools, rehabilitation centres, and the private industry. This is done through training such as learning to document and complete client records, develop and implement strategies that will benefit clients and formulate exercise plans. Students also obtain a relevant knowledge of health sciences, psychosociological sciences and health conditions. Aside from in-classroom learning, students participate in a fieldwork experience that provides the opportunity for application of skills in a clinical setting with a range of clients.

Centennial College expects students applying for admission to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. In addition, students must also possess: Compulsory English 12C, or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Biology 11C or U or equivalent. There are also important fieldwork placement requirements, such as: CPR Level HCP (Health Care Provider) and standard first aid certification, a clear vulnerable police check prior to semester 2, immunization review form and completion of a mask fit test.

Upon graduation, students are ready to work as a physiotherapist assistant or an occupational therapist assistant. Both jobs include shared tasks such as: conducting initial interviews with patients, carrying out observations, updating client records, supporting clients in reaching their goals, assisting with physical activity and exercises, and keeping work areas tidy. But what is the difference between the two professions? Occupational therapist assistants deal with treatment that helps individuals improve their ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing or feeding themselves. Physiotherapist assistants focus on the large motor functions such as strength, balance and range of motion. Of course, both jobs have the same rewarding outcome of helping people to gain independence.

Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant

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