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Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Scope of Practice

Definition of Occupational Therapy

'Occupational therapy'', the application of principles, methods and procedures of evaluation, problem identification, treatment, education, and consultation which utilizes purposeful activity in order to maximize independence, prevent or correct disability, and maintain health. These services are used with individuals, throughout the life span, whose abilities to interact with their environment are limited by physical injury or illness, disabilities, poverty and cultural differences or the aging process.

Occupational therapy includes but is not limited to:

    • Administering and interpreting tests necessary for effective treatment planning;
    • Developing daily living skills, perceptual motor skills, sensory integrative functioning, play skills and prevocational and vocational work capacities;
    • Designing, fabricating or applying selected orthotic and prosthetic devices or selected adaptive equipment;
    • Utilizing designated modalities, superficial heat and cold, and neuromuscular facilitation techniques to improve or enhance joint motion muscle function;
    • Designing and applying specific therapeutic activities and exercises to enhance or monitor functional or motor performance and to reduce stress; and
    • Adapting environments for the handicapped. These services are provided to individuals or groups through medical, health, educational, industrial or social systems.

Treatment Program

A treatment program shall be consistent with the statutory scope of practice and shall:

Include the therapeutic use of goal-directed activities, exercises and techniques and the use of group process to enhance occupational performance. Treatment also includes the use of therapeutic agents or techniques in preparation for, or as an adjunct to, purposeful activity to enhance occupational performance. Treatment is directed toward maximizing functional skill and task-related performance for the development of a client's vocational, avocational, daily living or related capacities.

Relate to physical, perceptual, sensory neuromuscular, sensory-integrative, cognitive or psychosocial skills.

Include, where appropriate for such purposes, and under appropriate conditions, therapeutic agents and techniques based on approaches taught in an occupational therapy curriculum, included in a program of professional education in occupational therapy, specific certification programs, continuing education or in-service education. Such continuing education or in-service education must include documented educational goals and objective testing (written examination, practical examination, and/or written simulation or case study) to ascertain a level of competence. Therapeutic procedures provided must be consistent with the individual's level of competence.

Require that appropriate supervision take place when a occupational therapist delegates treatment, including the employment of therapeutic agents and techniques to occupational therapy assistants, students, temporary license holders or occupational therapy aides, rehabilitation aides or persons known by other similar titles.

Require that the occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, occupational therapist student, and occupational therapy assistant student shall:

  • Comply with federal and state laws and Board regulations;
  • Comply with the AOTA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics; and
  • Provide only those services that are in the best interest of the client.


Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 112 Section 23A

259 CMR 3.00

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