Benefits and Value of Occupational Therapy 

For decades, occupational therapy has been a vital profession within healthcare that supports the long-term health, quality of life and the productivity of Canadians. Since first introducing guidelines for client-centred practice with the Department of National Health and Welfare in the 1980s, the practice has continually proven to be successful – so much so, that most health agencies, advocates and academic are calling for more movement toward the client-centred practice in order to improve outcomes and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

Occupational therapists work with patients with a wide variety of physical, mental and cognitive conditions which are often chronic in nature, and require ongoing care. By looking at the environment, necessary tasks, skills, as well as educating the client/family, occupational therapists work to increase participation in, and performance of, daily activities. 

Articles Demonstrating the Value of Investing in Occupational Therapy

Supported Discharge Teams for older people in hospital acute care: a randomised controlled trial

March 2018 | Age and Aging 

Supported Discharge Teams that include occupational therapy can: Support older people with a variety of conditions to be discharged earlier from hospital, reduce risk of readmission to hospital for older people, and have an important role to play in increasing bed capacity of hospitals. Read More 

Occupational therapy improves health, quality of life of young adults with diabetes

January 2018 | University of Southern California

New results from a University of Southern California-led research study demonstrates the distinct value of occupational therapy for improving the health and quality of life of young adults living with diabetes. Read More

Occupational therapy interventions in the treatment of people with severe mental illness.

July 2017 | Current Opinion in Psychiatry

There is a growing body of evidence regarding the value of interventions addressing occupational engagement of individuals with severe mental illness, including a range of activation strategies and approaches. Read More

Occupational therapy for adults with problems in activities of daily living after stroke

July 2017 | The Cochrane Library
We found low-quality evidence that occupational therapy targeted towards activities of daily living after stroke can improve performance in activities of daily living and reduce the risk of deterioration in these abilities. Read More

Improving Lives, Saving Money: Reducing the Pressure on our hospitals

July 2017 | Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Access to an occupational therapy assessment at the hospital front door cuts admissions and discharge delays (by up to 80%) and reduces the time patients spend in hospital unnecessarily. Read More

Home- and Community-Based Occupational Therapy Improves Functioning in Frail Older People: A Systematic Review

April 2017 | Clinical Management of the Older Adult
There is strong evidence that occupational therapy improves functioning in community-dwelling physically frail older people. Read More

Functional Outcomes of the Low Vision Depression Prevention Trial in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

March 2017 | Investigative Ophthamology & Visual Science
Based on the trends of the AI data, we suggest that BA + OT-LVR services, provided by an OT in the patient's home following conventional low vision optometry services, are more effective than conventional optometric low vision services alone for those with mild visual impairment.  Read More

Occupational therapy for delirium management in elderly patients without mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit: A pilot randomized clinical trial.

February 2017 | Journal of Critical Care

Occupational therapy is effective in decreasing duration and incidence of delirium in nonventilated elderly patients in the intensive care unit and improved functionality at discharge.  Read More

Higher Hospital Spending on Occupational Therapy Is Associated With Lower Readmission Rates

September 2016 | Medical Care Research and Review
We found that occupational therapy is the only spending category where additional spending has a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates for all three medical conditions. Read More
Read CAOT-BC blog post    

Home-Based Care Program Reduces Disability And Promotes Aging In Place

September 2016 | Health Affairs

The program, described in this innovation profile, uses an interprofessional team (an occupational therapist, a registered nurse, and a handyman) to help participants achieve goals they set. Read More


BC Needs Occupational Therapy, Everywhere Inforgraphic
Better Care, Better Value Inforgraphic
Falls Kill, But They Don't Have To Inforgraphic
Enabling Seniors to Stay at Hom, Infographic


Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
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