Occupational therapy support workers assist qualified occupational therapists with their daily duties. They work with the occupational therapists, helping people with physical or mental health problems to lead more independent lives.
You could be:
helping patients with domestic, social and work activities such as cooking, washing and dressing, shopping, travelling on buses or trains or using tools and equipment
supporting patients while they do these activities, on their own or as part of a group
visiting patients at home to assess their needs for special equipment
helping patients to use equipment which would make things easier for them
giving support to patients who have to change their lifestyle because of physical or mental health problems
supporting patients to live independently in their own homes
carrying out treatment plans under supervision
keeping patient records up to date
reporting progress to an occupational therapist.
Pay rates can vary depending on whether you are working with the NHS, with a private practice, or are self-employed. Within the NHS Agenda for Change scales occupational therapy support workers are paid on Band 3, £19,945 to £21,947 a year.
Assistant practitioner occupational therapy support workers on the higher grade are on Band 4, £22,152 to £24,258 a year.
The current pay scales are from April 2019.
If you work for the National Health Service (NHS) you may work in a hospital, a care home or a clinic in the community.
If you work for a local authority or voluntary organisation you may work in a day centre or visit patients at home.
You may have to travel.
Hours are usually regular, but you might sometimes need to do evening or weekend work.
A good general education is useful. National 4 English and Maths preferred.
Suitable work experience, often voluntary, is useful.
You might get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6.
You could take a full time Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Occupational Therapy Support at Glasgow Clyde College before applying for a job. For entry to the course you need 2 Highers, preferably including English.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
A driving licence is useful.
Most occupational therapy support workers work for the NHS. Entry is competitive.
patient, caring and understanding – you may have to work with people who are upset
able to keep accurate records
able to work well in a team
keen to help improve peoples' lives.
Training is usually on the job, you would work alongside experienced support workers and complete a supervised programme of training.
You could work towards the SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6.
You could complete the HNC in Occupational Therapy Support, at Glasgow Clyde College part time, while you are working.
You would be expected to complete some additional inhouse training including Infection Control, Risk Management, and Health and Safety.
With experience and completion of the HNC Care and Administrative Practice or Scottish Vocational (SVQ) Health Care Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 7, you may gain promotion to advanced occupational therapy support worker (assistant practitioner) or a supervisory post.
Assistant practitioners may go on to complete an approved degree in occupational therapy.