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Virginia Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Occupational Therapy Assistants

Definition of a OTA

"Occupational therapy assistant" means an individual who has met the requirements of the Board for licensure and who works under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist to assist in the practice of occupational therapy.

What are OTAs allowed to do?

An occupational therapy assistant is responsible for the safe and effective delivery of those services or tasks delegated by and under the direction of the occupational therapist. Individual responsibilities of an occupational therapy assistant may include:

    • Participation in the evaluation or assessment of a patient by gathering data, administering tests, and reporting observations and client capacities to the occupational therapist;
    • Participation in intervention planning, implementation, and review;
    • Implementation of interventions as determined and assigned by the occupational therapist;
    • Documentation of patient responses to interventions and consultation with the occupational therapist about patient functionality;
    • Assistance in the formulation of the discharge summary and follow-up plans; and
    • Implementation of outcome measurements and provision of needed patient discharge resources.

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

Delegation to an occupational therapy assistant.

    • An occupational therapist shall be ultimately responsible and accountable for patient care and occupational therapy outcomes under his clinical supervision.
    • An occupational therapist shall not delegate the discretionary aspects of the initial assessment, evaluation or development of a treatment plan for a patient nor shall he delegate any task requiring a clinical decision or the knowledge, skills, and judgment of a licensed occupational therapist.
    • Delegation shall only be made if, in the judgment of the occupational therapist, the task or procedures do not require the exercise of professional judgment, can be properly and safely performed by an appropriately trained occupational therapy assistant, and the delegation does not jeopardize the health or safety of the patient.
    • Delegated tasks or procedures shall be communicated to an occupational therapy assistant on a patient-specific basis with clear, specific instructions for performance of activities, potential complications, and expected results.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

The frequency, methods, and content of supervision are dependent on the complexity of patient needs, number and diversity of patients, demonstrated competency and experience of the assistant, and the type and requirements of the practice setting. The occupational therapist providing clinical supervision shall meet with the occupational therapy assistant to review and evaluate treatment and progress of the individual patients at least once every tenth (10th) treatment session or thirty (30) calendar days, whichever occurs first. Group treatment sessions shall be counted the same as individual treatment sessions.

What is the ratio between supervising OTs and OTAs?

An occupational therapist may provide clinical supervision for up to six occupational therapy personnel, to include no more than three occupational therapy assistants at any one time.

What must a OTA document?

The occupational therapy assistant shall document in the patient record any aspects of the initial evaluation, treatment plan, discharge summary, or other notes on patient care performed by the assistant.

Signature Requirements

The supervising occupational therapist shall countersign such documentation in the patient record at the time of the review and evaluation. 

Aides

What can an aide do?

Unlicensed occupational therapy personnel may be utilized to perform:

    • Nonclient-related tasks including, but not limited to, clerical and maintenance activities and the preparation of the work area and equipment; and
    • Certain routine patient-related tasks that, in the opinion of and under the supervision of an occupational therapist, have no potential to adversely impact the patient or the patient's treatment plan.

What type of supervision is required?

Unlicensed occupational therapy personnel may be supervised by an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant.

Citations

18 VAC 85-80-111

18 VAC 85-80-100

18 VAC 85-80-110


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