A Day in the Life of an Occupational Therapist

By Richard Murdoch

What does an Occupational Therapist do?

We hear that question a lot. The simple answer is, A LOT! The role of an occupational therapist (OT) can vary greatly, with the profession utilised across range of industries. 

At Therapy Focus, our OTs work as part of multidisciplinary teams, helping people achieve their goals at all life stages. Some of our OTs work as part of Therapy Focus’ specialised teams – like Richard Murdoch, who works in home modifications and assistive technology prescription and coordinates our Rural and Remote Services.

We asked Richard to share an insight into a day at work.

8:30 am – 9:00 am

I begin my day by arriving at Therapy Focus’ Central office in Bentley. Although my primary location is Bentley, my role often requires me to travel throughout the Perth metro region and into rural areas. I take this time to check my emails and grab a sneaky cup of coffee!

9:00 am – 11.30 am

I head off to my first appointment for the day accompanied by one of our project managers. We’re visiting a customer who requires home modifications, so we discuss their functional and environmental needs and complete an assessment to see what modifications the customer might benefit from. This involves a detailed review of the home environment, the customer’s functional needs, and any assistive technology that might help them overcome challenges they’re facing at home. It is really rewarding to work together with our customers to problem solve and find solutions for their unique needs.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

I grab lunch and check emails. I also make phone calls to connect with support coordinators in Moora and Northam regarding customers in need of services. Supporting and networking with customers in rural areas is a genuine passion of mine, and I find great joy in being able to coordinate therapy for those who might not be able to access it otherwise.

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

I head to a supplier showroom to complete a wheelchair trial with a customer. I have already arranged which wheelchairs we will be trialling based on my customer’s needs. It’s a bit like a jigsaw determining what wheelchair might work for them based on their physical abilities, the environments that they’ll be using their wheelchair in, and what they enjoy doing. One of the key responsibilities of being an occupational therapist is to skillfully connect the pieces, enabling customers to continue to engage in occupational roles that they enjoy. This customer loves to be outdoors and go fishing, so we looked at wheelchairs with thicker tyres to ensure manoeuvrability over different terrain. We also look at ones that have flip-up arm rests to enable the range of motion required to cast a fishing rod.

We trialled three different wheelchairs and found one that met all the customer’s needs. They felt comfortable and able to use the wheelchair independently. Win, win!

Richard measuring a wheelchair

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

I head back to the office. From here, I review my emails and return any phone calls I might have missed while with customers.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Back in the office, I grab a cup of tea and sit down to write my notes for the day. I have a chat with the team about the day’s activities and our plans for the weekend.

Once my notes are complete, I turn my attention to preparing a report to support the purchase of the wheelchair we successfully trialled today. The NDIS report template ensures I’ve reviewed all the options available for my customer and have selected a wheelchair that meets their needs. This report will require a few more days of work, but once it’s finalised I will share it with both my team and the customer for review.

As I head home for the day, I leave knowing that I’ve played a role in helping people discover their abilities and achieve their goals.

Ready to take the next step in your career?

Want to work with talented and dedicated individuals like Richard? At Therapy Focus, we promote a positive work culture that emphasises supporting one another, so you truly feel part of the team.