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Be a Voluntary Occupational Therapist Assistant

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 10 Jul 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Occupational Therapist Volunteering

An occupational therapist works with people to enable them to live as independently as possible and to manage their daily lives. Volunteers assist therapists in practical ways and in their work with patients. Patients may have had an accident or illness such as a stroke or they may be elderly, disabled, have mental health issues or learning difficulties.

What is the Role?

Volunteer Occupational Therapists (OTs) also known as occupational therapist support volunteers generally assist OTs in their role. Volunteering can be a good way to gain experience if you are thinking of becoming an OT or working in the health field. It is also rewarding in its own right and puts you at the heart of a team. Roles may be available in hospitals, day care centres or in the community at client’s own homes.

Who can Volunteer?

Volunteers need good people and communication skills. Experience in working with disabled people is an advantage and certainly you must feel able to work with vulnerable and disabled people. The role requires flexibility, patience and calmness.

You need to be considerate of patients’ needs and rights and have an ability to get on with all kinds of people. Empathy and an ability to motivate people are important and respect for confidentiality is essential. Basic levels of fitness are needed as you need to be able to carry out physical tasks. Practical skills you can share (such as knitting) are helpful and you must be reliable and feel happy to work in a team. As you will be working with vulnerable adults a Disclosure background check will be required.

What is Involved?

An OT assesses a patient and then works with them to improve their wellbeing. You will help support the patient’s rehabilitation and encourage positive thinking. You may assist the therapist with equipment during treatment and may accompany patients to and from treatment and keep them company as they wait.

Practical help can include cleaning and disinfecting equipment, collecting and delivering linen and checking on equipment, noticing the need for any repairs and keeping an inventory of it. You may also act as a messenger for OTs and nurses.

Many tasks will directly involve you with patients. Work may be one to one or with groups. You may assist with classes in arts and crafts such as painting and drawing, pottery or making cards. Other life skills classes could include cookery and baking.

You could show patients how use equipment designed to assist them in daily life, and perhaps help to install equipment for them in their homes. Support people to take part in social activities and help them to develop a daily routine as they return to the community.

You will monitor milestones on the way to achieving goals and provide feedback to professional occupational therapists.

You will receive training and ongoing support and may want to work towards a qualification such as NVQ in Health. As you volunteer you will notice changes and improvements in the lives and wellbeing of the patients you work with and will help them to become reintegrated in the local community.

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Hi, I have recently finished sixth form and am not sure what I want to do after my gap year. I have been interested in Occupational Therapy and would like to get some work experience in it. Where could I do this? Heidi Angell
Heidi - 10-Jul-20 @ 12:48 PM
Hi, My name is Theresa Jude and I live in West Yorkshire Leeds. I recently graduated from a degree course Public Health and Community Well-being. I am looking for an opportunity to volunteer as an Occupational Therapy because I am looking forward to doing my master's degree in the field.
Tessy - 23-Jun-20 @ 9:59 AM
Hello! I am based in Edinburgh and I would love to get some volunteering experience as an OT. I am actually a band 5 OT but have had a long career gap. Thank you!
MP - 13-Jun-20 @ 1:24 AM
Hello! I am a HCPC registered band 5 OT. I would like to volunteer for an OT as I have had a career gap.Where could I get some info about it? Many thanks! M.
M. - 13-Jun-20 @ 1:21 AM
Hi, I live near Southampton and I’m available for OT volunteer work. Currently studying a science HE Diploma to access university. Finishing my training as a Pilates instructor to assist my teaching as a Taekwondo instructor /club owner. My background is retail HR/operation management so I have a lot of great people skills. Contact if you need support
Donna - 9-Jun-20 @ 10:56 PM
Hello, I would like to volunteer to shadow an Occupational Therapist in the Bristol area to gain experience and understanding of the job before starting an Occupational Therapy degree. Many Thanks.
Mary - 3-Jun-20 @ 7:57 PM
Would like to volunteer at a hospital and follow/shadow an OT to learn about the role before applying for a degree.
Stuart - 29-May-20 @ 6:46 PM
Hello, im planning to change my career , Im 32 years and I Have been working in Hospitality Industries ,I really would like to get into this jobs.So im offering myself 4 days a week to be a volunteer , learn and study any course. Please any information if I can not be accepted as volunteer, it would be more than appreciate im based in Manchester,iuk.
Ponyo - 23-May-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hi I want to re train as an OT and am looking for Volunteer opportunities in the Hertfordshire area. Can anyone help me find them? Many Thanks
Lee - 20-May-20 @ 6:49 AM
Hello My name is Lizeth Gomez and I am an occupational therapist graduated from Colombia. Recently I have been granted with my OT registration from the HCPC, however I am looking for opportunities to volunteer and learn about the service in the UK before applying for any jobs and before deciding to leave my current position as teaching assistant. Is there any opportunity to do this within your service or any other service in the West Midlands area? Thank You Lizeth Gomez
Lizeth - 10-Feb-20 @ 7:19 PM
Are there any volunteers/ organisations that can go into care homes to assist 2/3 times a week with a patient (45)who needs to be pushed a little to do some exercises and needs a bit of companionship?
Rebecca - 3-Jan-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hi I was just wondering if there are any occupational therapists in manchester trafford who i could shadow. I’m in my last year of college l, studying health and social care level 3 extended diploma, and would love to shadow an occupational therapist so i know the role a bit more before applying to it in college. I already have some experience in caring as i work in a care home and have adaptable skills.
simran - 13-Oct-19 @ 10:08 PM
Could you tell me if there is any volunteers inWrexham area
Suedav17 - 1-Jan-19 @ 10:13 PM
I am a qualifiedoccupational therapist. not yet utilised my O.T. proffession. I have been doing care in the community for 13 years. I like to do volunteering work,which will enable me to gain skills to go forward into the proffession. I would be grateful if i could be given the opportunity to utilise my skills. Regards Norma
Didi - 7-Nov-18 @ 11:58 AM
I'm a university student at Vision West Notts currently studying a foundation degree in sports health. I'm currently looking for a work placement as I have to take part in one for my course specification. Occupational therapy is something that has come up as I've had an interest in helping people recover and think this is something that may suite me.
Dan - 6-Nov-18 @ 9:50 AM
Hi there my name is Dhivya, & I am wishing to become an occupational therapist. I live in South East London. I am looking to do my Masters next year in Occupational Therapy. What is the procedure of getting work experience to work under an Occupational Therapist? Please do let me know. Thanks Dhivya
Dhivya Kumaramurthy - 31-Jul-18 @ 8:55 PM
nkrol - Your Question:
Hi, I would love to volunteer as an OTA in order to gain some work experience for my postgraduate course. I have already completed my Bachelor degree in Psychology. Additionally, I am currently working as Health Care Support Worker in Psychiatric Hospital. Would you be able to give me some advice how could I find volunteering in Hertfordshire or London? Many thanks.

Our Response:
Occupational therapy clinics, both private and NHS, tend not to advertise voluntary opportunities, so the easiest thing to do is to search "Occupational Therapy East London" or similar and contact organisations directly.
CommunityHelpers - 18-Apr-18 @ 2:04 PM
Hi, I would love to volunteer as an OTA in order to gain some work experience for my postgraduate course. I have already completed my Bachelor degree in Psychology. Additionally, I am currently working as Health Care Support Worker in Psychiatric Hospital. Would you be able to give me some advice how could I find volunteering in Hertfordshire or London? Many thanks.
nkrol - 17-Apr-18 @ 12:42 PM
Hello. I live in Surrey. My friend, Julia, and I are currently completing our first year of A levels and are both interested in occupational therapy and need advice on how to gain experience in this field. We are looking for a weeks worth of experience in July this year. Many Thanks Hoppy and Julia X
hoppy - 21-Mar-18 @ 11:54 AM
Hi I am a skills and volunteer coordinator at a supported housing project working with the homeless/rough sleepers and we are in desperate need of an occupational therapist to volunteer their services about once a week to help our residents, we are based in Manchester if there is anyone out there who needs to gain experience please get in touch. Kind regards Jacky
Jacky - 8-Mar-18 @ 9:51 AM
Anta - Your Question:
Hello. I live in Dagenham, I have a BA degree in Health and Social Care as well as GCSE in English and Maths. I am currently working as a Romanian Interpreter but I would like to have a carrer in Health and Social Care because I have studied for this. I am looking to volunteer as an Occupational Therapist assistant in East London because I want to gain experience. I mention that I volunteered for more than 2 years in a Day Centre both for children and adults with disabilities.

Our Response:
Occupational therapy clinics, both private and NHS, tend not to advertise voluntary opportunities, so the easiest thing to do is to search "Occupational Therapy East London" or similar and contact organisations directly.
CommunityHelpers - 5-Mar-18 @ 1:52 PM
Hello. I live in Dagenham, I have a BA degree in Health and Social Care as well as GCSE in English and Maths. I am currently working as a Romanian Interpreter but I would like to have a carrer in Health and Social Care because I have studied for this. I am looking to volunteer as an Occupational Therapist assistant in East London because I want to gain experience.I mention that I volunteered for more than 2 years in a Day Centre both for children and adults with disabilities.
Anta - 2-Mar-18 @ 2:05 PM
Emma - Your Question:
Hi I live in Sheffield I’m looking for a days volunteering preferably for occupational thearpy as I’m wanting to go to university but will need some experience within this area of work. I work full time so I am only limited to a day of volunteering. Thank you in advance.

Our Response:
Please see our response to @Liz below. The same will apply but try "Sheffield" in your search.
CommunityHelpers - 28-Feb-18 @ 2:31 PM
Hi I live in Sheffield I’m looking for a days volunteering preferably for occupational thearpy as I’m wanting to go to university but will need some experience within this area of work. I work full time so I am only limited to a day of volunteering. Thank you in advance.
Emma - 27-Feb-18 @ 1:17 PM
Hello, I am a Sheffield Hallam University student, and I am in need of an Occupational Therapy placement. I live in Selston, Nottinghamshire, and I have been struggling to find a placement suited to my needs. I need a minimum of 200 hours of work placement and my preferred area is Occupational Therapy. I would be truly grateful if I could you could contact me ASAP. Thank you.
Emily - 22-Nov-17 @ 9:33 AM
Liz - Your Question:
Hi, I am a student and live in Birmingham and was wondering how id go about finding opportunities in my area. I have been scouring the internet but can’t seem to find anything voluantary in this sector. Any advice would be appreciated, Thank you!

Our Response:
Occupational therapy clinics, both private and NHS, tend not to advertise voluntary opportunities, so the easiest thing to do is to search "Occupational Therapy Birmingham" or similar and contact organisations directly.
CommunityHelpers - 7-Nov-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi, I am a student and live in Birmingham and was wondering how id go about finding opportunities in my area. I have been scouring the internet but can’t seem to find anything voluantary in this sector. Any advice would be appreciated, Thank you!
Liz - 6-Nov-17 @ 9:56 AM
I was wondering can i be contacted please in order to do occupational therapy volunteering work in order to get into university, thank you
N - 29-Oct-17 @ 1:36 PM
Hi i would be really interested to do some voluntary work in the occupational therapy sector. I have a btec national diploma in health and social care level 3. I have completed placements in a carehome and community centre and working with the elderly and i really enjoyed it. I want this to help in the furture for applying for university. Thanks
Nisha - 21-Oct-17 @ 8:21 PM
Hello I would like to get some experience from OT . I am looking for job as an OT assistant whether it is paid or voluntary. It will help me on my further education in the University. Please email me as soon as possible.
Ashraf - 11-Oct-17 @ 11:10 AM
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