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Washington Occupational Therapy Definitions 

The Washington occupational therapy legal and regulatory definitions. 

“Adapting Environments for Individuals with Disabilities” - Assessing needs, identifying strategies, implementing and training in the use of strategies, and evaluating outcomes. Occupational therapy focuses on the interaction of an individual's skills and abilities, the features of the environment, and the demands and purposes of activities.

“Board” - The Washington Board of Occupational Therapy Practice.

“Department” - The Washington Department of Health.

“Clients”- Those to whom occupational therapy services are delivered.

“Client-Related Tasks”- Routine tasks during which an occupational therapy aide may interact with the client but does not act as a primary service provider of occupational therapy services. The following factors must be present when an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant delegates a selected client-related task to the aide:

    • The outcome anticipated for the delegated task is predictable;
    • The status of the client and the environment is stable and will not require that the aide make judgments, interpretations, or adaptations;
    • The client has demonstrated some previous performance ability in executing the task; and
    • The task routine and process have been clearly established.

“Commonly Accepted Standards for the Profession” - Having passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy or its successor/predecessor organization, not having engaged in unprofessional conduct or gross incompetency as established by the board in WAC 246-847-160 for conduct occurring prior to June 11, 1986, and as established in RCW 18.130.180 for conduct occurring on or after June 11, 1986.

“Evaluation”- The process of obtaining and interpreting data necessary for treatment which includes, but is not limited to, planning for and documenting the evaluation process and results. The evaluation data may be gathered through record review, specific observation, interview, and the administration of data collection procedures which include, but are not limited to, the use of standardized tests, performance checklists, and activities and tasks designed to evaluate specific performance abilities.

“Occupational Therapy Aide”- A person who is trained by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant to perform client and nonclient related tasks. Occupational therapy aides are not primary service providers of occupational therapy in any practice setting. Occupational therapy aides do not provide skilled occupational therapy services.

“Occupational Therapist” - A person licensed to practice occupational therapy in Washington.

“Occupational Therapy” - The scientifically based use of purposeful activity with individuals who are limited by physical injury or illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, or the aging process in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health. The practice encompasses evaluation, treatment, and consultation. Specific occupational therapy services include but are not limited to: Using specifically designed activities and exercises to enhance neurodevelopmental, cognitive, perceptual motor, sensory integrative, and psychomotor functioning; administering and interpreting tests such as manual muscle and sensory integration; teaching daily living skills; developing prevocational skills and play and avocational capabilities; designing, fabricating, or applying selected orthotic and prosthetic devices or selected adaptive equipment; wound care management; and adapting environments for persons with disabilities. These services are provided individually, in groups, or through social systems.

“Occupational Therapy Aide” - A person who is trained to perform specific occupational therapy techniques under professional supervision as defined by the board but who does not perform activities that require advanced training in the sciences or practices involved in the profession of occupational therapy.

“Occupational Therapy Assistant” - A person licensed to assist in the practice of occupational therapy under the supervision or with the regular consultation of an occupational therapist.

“Occupational Therapy Practitioner” - A person who is credentialed as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

“Person” - Any individual, partnership, unincorporated organization, or corporate body, except that only an individual may be licensed.

“Professional Supervision”- Of an occupational therapy aide means in-person contact at the treatment site by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant licensed in the state of Washington. When client-related tasks are provided by an occupational therapy aide more thanonce a week, professional supervision must occur at least weekly. When client-related tasks are provided by an occupational therapy aide once a week or less, professional supervision must occur at least once every two weeks.

“Regular Consultation with an Occupational Therapy Assistant” - At least monthly contact with the supervising occupational therapist licensed in the state of Washington, with further supervision available as needed.

“Secretary” - The secretary of health.

“Scientifically Based use of Purposeful Activity” - The treatment of individuals using established methodology based upon the behavioral and biological sciences and includes the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of participation in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings.

“Sharp Debridement” - The removal of loose or loosely adherent devitalized tissue with the use of tweezers, scissors, or scalpel, without any type of anesthesia other than topical anesthetics.

“Teaching Daily Living Skills”- The instruction in daily living skills by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant based upon the evaluation of all the components of the individual's disability and the adaptation or treatment based on the evaluation.

“Wound Care Management” - A part of occupational therapy treatment that facilitates healing, prevents edema, infection, and excessive scar formation, and minimizes wound complications. Treatment may include: Assessment of wound healing status; patient education; selection and application of dressings; cleansing of the wound and surrounding areas; application of topical medications; use of physical agent modalities; application of pressure garments and nonweight-bearing orthotic devices, excluding high-temperature custom foot orthotics made from a mold; sharp debridement of devitalized tissue; debridement of devitalized tissue with other agents; and adapting activities of daily living to promote independence during wound healing.


RCW 18.59.020

WAC 246-847-010

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