Stephanie P. OTR



The relationship between occupation and health is the premise upon which occupational therapy is founded. This page uses cases studies to show the different roles that an occupational therapist can have in the rehabilitation process.

A diagnosis can create limitations in occupational performance.

Occupational therapists use their knowledge of body functions, body structures, and diagnoses to address limitations.  



  • Client-centered
  • Evidence-based
  • Interdisciplinary 
  • Diversity
  • B.4.1:PD, EIP
  • B.5.13
  • B.5.17
  • B.9.6


altOccupational Therapist's Role: Educator

The case study of Darnel is an example of how occupational therapists can take on the role of educator in order to meet the client’s occupational needs. Using; observations of Darnel, interview with Darnel, and a clinical discharge document (Figure I.), the occupational therapist will determine the most appropriate education material to meet Darnel’s occupational needs.

Once the client’s learning needs have been determined the occupational therapist must decide how to deliver the content to be learned. I am a very visual learner and choose to take the Ikea approach because I believe tutorials using pictures are universal. However, depending on a client’s developmental stage of learning and literacy level another occupational therapist might opt for a different form of delivery. 

This case study was an exercise in utilizing the teaching-learning process to provide training techniques to a client that will enhance their community access. 


                                                                                                                                   Figure I




Occupational Therapist's Role: Discharge Planner

What is discharge planning?

The process of determining what happens after therapy services are discontinued. (Jacobs, 2014, p. 481)

Frank was a case where an occupational therapist had to develop a discharge summary.This includes any referrals for additional specializations. Frank’s case required the practitioner to be planning for his discharge summary since the start of his intervention implementation. That way the discharge summary can report all the compensatory strategies and techniques that Frank was shown during treatment. These lessons were intended to support Frank’s performance in his natural environment post discharge. Completing a discharge plan taught me the importance of thorough planning beginning at the assessment stage. 


Jacobs, K., MacRae, N., & Sladyk, K. (2014). Occupational Therapy Essentials for Clinical Competence. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Incorporated.


altOccupational Therapist's Role: Consultant

What is consultation?

A type of intervention in which the practitioner uses their knowledge and expertise to collaborate with the client or caregivers. When providing consultation, the practitioner is not directly responsible for the outcome of the intervention.(AOTA, 2011).

In the case of Miyu occupation therapists evaluated her home environment and made modification recommendations that would increase her occupational performance. Factor's that contributed to the recommendations were; ergonomic principles, limitations created by Miyu's diagnosis, and elements of her home environment. 

Miyu's case study was interesting because there was also a cultural element at play that contributed to how solutions should be approached. 


Photo: Shutterstock



American Occupational Therapy Association. (2011). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (2nd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 625-683.