8 Questions to Ask Your Occupational Therapist

Questions to Ask Your Occupational Therapist. GettyImages

We expect our health care providers to ask thoughtful questions, but it is equally important that your questions are heard.

Asking questions of your occupational therapist builds your relationship, facilitates your buy-in to treatment, and ultimately can help you get the most out of your care.

As a health care consumer, don’t be afraid to ask for a phone or in-person interview, before scheduling an initial evaluation.

If you have already begun treatment, it is never too late to ask these questions of your OT. 

Below are 8 questions that you can ask your own occupational therapist.

1.)  How will OT help me get back to my everyday life?

Your occupational therapist should be focused on helping you participate in activities that are meaningful in your life. She should be taking time to understand what daily activities are important to you and building her treatment around them. 

2.) What can I be doing outside of therapy?

Through occupational therapy, your therapist should empower you to take ownership of your progress. Healing is not something that happens in 45-minute increments, 3 times a week. You should leave each session with a clear understanding of what you can be doing outside of the treatment session to bolster your progress. 

3.) How will what is happening in the clinic carry-over to my home?

One of the most common complaints I hear about occupational therapy is that clients see amazing results in the clinic, but the results do not carry-over to the home.

Your OT should have a clear plan for translating the results into your home setting, where you can maintain the progress without his intervention.

4.) Do you have any specialized training in treating my condition?

Occupational therapists are licensed to work in a wide variety of settings with an even wider variety of conditions.

It is important to find an OT who has experience working with your specific condition and who keeps up on her area of practice through continuing education. 

5.) Has research been published in the past five years to support your treatments?

You have the right to know the likelihood that what you're paying for will help. Not every technique has strict evidence backing it. The pool of research currently does not cover how particular treatments address each condition and demographic. But, your therapist should be skilled at analyzing the research that is available and applying it to your care.

6.) How much will it cost?

An OT should be able to explain the cost of her services and why they are worth that figure. There should also be systems in place for helping you discern how much each session will cost, whether you are paying through insurance or not. Your bill should not be a surprise. 

7.) What are my alternatives to OT?

A good occupational therapist will want you to have the best care, even if it is not from her.

This may look like helping you find a specialist when your situation is beyond her scope of practice. Or it might look like passing off your care to a massage therapist or personal trainer, when you no longer require her level of skill. 

8.) Do you have any recommendations for reading up on my condition?

In the new age of health care information, part of your health care provider's role is to direct you past all of the Internet muck to reliable and authoritative resources. Her awareness of these resources will also signal whether or not she is keeping up on best practices.

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