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New Jersey Occupational Therapy Assistants

Definition of an OTA

"Occupational therapy assistant" means a person licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act to assist in the practice of occupational therapy under the supervision of or in collaboration with an occupational therapist on a regularly scheduled basis for the purpose of the planning, review or evaluation of occupational therapy services.

What are OTAs allowed to do?

The scope of practice of a licensed occupational therapy assistant, working under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist shall include:

    • The provision of direct, indirect and/or consultative services to a client affected by physical, psycho-social, cognitive, congenital and/or developmental disorders or the aging process, to improve and/or prevent loss of physical or mental functioning and to promote wellness;
    • The administration of standardized and/or non-standardized assessments and/or the observation of a client and the environment to assist in the identification of functional abilities or deficits. Areas, which may be assessed shall include the performance of activities of daily living, including recreation, leisure or work related skills which are affected by sensory, motor, developmental, perceptual, cognitive and/or psycho-social abilities;
    • Assisting in the development and implementation of an intervention plan for the client;
    • The development and utilization of, and education and training in, purposeful, task-oriented activities for the client to improve, restore and/or maintain optimal performance of life skills, roles and functions including work, recreation, leisure skills and the activities of daily living;
    • The design, fabrication, application and/or selection of adaptive equipment, prosthetics and/or orthotic devices, except dental devices;
    • Consultation concerning the adaptation of physical environments; and
    • The utilization of physical agent modalities as an adjunct to, or in preparation for, purposeful activity to enhance occupational performance with which the licensee is familiar as a result of training and experience.

What are the responsibilities of the OT when delegating to a OTA?

Prior to supervising any person engaged in the practice of occupational therapy services, an occupational therapist shall have at least 1,200 hours of work experience obtained in no less than one year and in no more than three years of practice.

A designated supervisor shall determine the level of supervision required of each occupational therapy assistant consistent with the condition of the client, the education, skill and training of the occupational therapy assistant and the nature of the tasks and activities to be performed by the occupational therapy assistant; provided, however, that a designated supervisor shall provide close supervision for any occupational therapy assistant who has been engaged in the practice of occupational therapy for less than one year on a full-time basis.

A designated supervisor shall maintain a written plan of supervision which shall include evidence of the ongoing supervision of each occupational therapy assistant for whom the supervisor is responsible.

Substitute Supervision

A designated supervisor who is unavailable to provide occupational therapy assistants with either routine or general supervision, for two or more contact periods, shall arrange for substitute supervision by a licensed occupational therapist, who shall follow the established plan of supervision.

A designated supervisor who is unable to provide occupational therapy assistants with close supervision, for more than one day, shall arrange for substitute supervision by a licensed occupational therapist, who shall follow the established plan of supervision.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

When providing routine or general supervision of an occupational therapy assistant, a designated supervisor may also provide interim supervision of the occupational therapy assistant through telephonic or written communications, including reports and/or conferences, between the supervisor and the occupational therapy assistant.

"Routine supervision" means face-to-face contact with and observation of the performance of the individual at least once a week at the location where he or she is rendering services; and

"General supervision" means face-to-face contact with and observation of the performance of the individual at least once every two weeks at the location where he or she is rendering services.

What is the ratio between supervising OTs and OTAs?

An occupational therapist shall not supervise more than five (5) licensees, including occupational therapy assistants, temporary licensed occupational therapists or temporary licensed occupational therapy assistants.

Responsibilities of the OTA

An occupational therapy assistant shall not render nor continue to render client care unless he or she has obtained ongoing direction from his or her designated supervisor.

An occupational therapy assistant shall be responsible for clients within the limits of his or her scope of practice.

An occupational therapy assistant shall maintain a record of supervision which shall include the name and license number of his or her designated supervisor, the date when the occupational therapy assistant received supervision and the type of supervision that was provided.

Delegation of Supervision Responsibilities to an OTA

A designated supervisor providing close supervision of an occupational therapy assistant, a temporary licensed occupational therapy assistant or an occupational therapy student, may delegate his or her supervisory responsibility for the daily, face-to-face contact with and frequent observation of the performance of the occupational therapy assistant, the temporary licensed occupational therapy assistant or the occupational therapy student, to an occupational therapy assistant who, in the professional judgment of the supervising occupational therapist, has been adequately prepared by verified training and education in the provision of occupational therapy services.

No designated supervisor shall delegate his or her responsibilities for close supervision of an occupational therapy assistant to an occupational therapy assistant who has less than 3,600 hours of work experience obtained within a five (5) year period in the particular practice area in which services are being provide.

A licensed occupational therapy assistant who has been delegated supervision responsibilities shall not supervise more than three (3) persons at one time.

When supervision of an occupational therapy assistant, a temporary licensed occupational therapy assistant or an occupational therapy student is delegated, the supervising occupational therapist shall retain responsibility for all occupational therapy care of the client.

Citations

N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.53

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-5.2

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-6.1

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-6.2

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-6.3

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-6.4


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