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New York Occupational Therapy Aides

May I use an "aide" to provide occupational therapy services?

Answer: New York State law restricts the practice of occupational therapy to licensed professionals. Individuals who are not licensed may not provide occupational therapy services. People who are employed to assist occupational therapists in such activities as cleaning equipment, preparing a room for therapy, or performing secretarial duties should not be referred to as "occupational therapy aides" as this term may be misleading to the public.

May I supervise an unlicensed person, such as a home health aide or personal care aide?

Answer: Under New York State Law, only a licensed person may perform tasks that require a license. Therefore, you may not supervise an unlicensed individual if that person would be providing any such restricted services. However, to the extent that such services do not involve any restricted tasks, nothing in the practice act would explicitly preclude such supervision. Nonetheless, there are a number of factors that should be considered when engaging in a supervisory relationship that blends professional and non-professional services.

First, it must be clear to all involved whether services being provided are being done within your professional capacity. Further, under no circumstances should an unlicensed individual be held out or represented as providing professional services. Additionally, it is important to recognize that individuals or agencies engaging someone to provide professional services may expect that only professional services are to be provided during this engagement. It could be unlawful for an individual to document that professional services were being provided during a time when, in fact, un-licensed services were only provided.


NY OT Board Practice Issues

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