Thursday, January 20, 2011

Assist in Independence as an Occupational Therapist Assistant/ Physiotherapy Assistant

Working to help developmentally and physically challenged people to obtain the skills they need for a certain level of independence can be challenging but very rewarding. The highly trained people who work in this field are Occupational Therapist Assistants/Physiotherapy Assistants. What is the difference between the two and how are they the same?

Both occupational therapy assistants and physiotherapy assistants work under registered occupational therapists and physiotherapists. In addition, they both work with people who have lost their ability to function because of an injury, the aging process or a developmental or emotional disability. Other shared tasks include: 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. So where do the differences come in? Physiotherapist assistants focus on large motor functions such as strength, balance and range of motion. Meanwhile, occupational therapist assistants deal with treatment that helps individuals improve their ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing or feeding themselves.

To get started in your path to a rewarding career, Centennial College offers a two-year Ontario College Diploma program entitled Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant. To apply for the program, you must possess at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, students must have completed the compulsory English 12C, or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Biology 11C or U or equivalent. Please note that, possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission

The Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant program offers students high academic standards, personal attention and the opportunity to develop skills in an environment equipped with a wide range of tools used in industry where labs are part of everyday teaching. Among the courses that you will take are: The Health Care System, Normal Function and Movement, Issues in Health Aging, Disabling Conditions, Human Lifespan Development and much more. These courses will enable you to develop knowledge in order to assist clients with self-care, movement, function and participation in leisure activities. Additional areas of instruction and development include: respect and caring for the uniqueness of individuals, effective communication, critical thinking, and decision-making.

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. In addition, they also have the opportunity to network, learn from seasoned professionals and be completely prepared for the field. However, there are important Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant field placement requirements before students can be sent out. These include possession of 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.

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