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Be a Voluntary Occupational Therapist Assistant

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 15 Nov 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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Hello, my name is Lydia Greenwood. I am a 23-year-old graduate, considering completing a Masters in Occupational Therapy next year. I am looking at doing some volunteering during the weekends to improve my knowledge of the role and to help support people at this difficult time. I currently work in a Complex Needs School and would like to transfer my skills to this role if possible. Are there any volunteering roles happening in the Norwich or Great Yarmouth areas?
Lydia - 15-Nov-20 @ 11:41 AM
Hi, I am currently looking for a career change. I am considering a career as an OT or PT, but i haven't got any hands on experience to decide between the two. I am hoping to gain some voluntary experience in the Birmingham area & i am looking for advice on whether i could work as an assistant with my current qualifications. Thank you, any advice would be much appreciated.
Shabz - 13-Nov-20 @ 11:14 AM
Hello, my name is Cameron Shearer I am in my final year of college at the City of Glasgow studying Fitness, Health and Exercise. I am looking to study Occupational Therapy next year at university as I feel that I still have more to go on my educational journey. I am very positive, enthusiastic and well mannered and think this would make me a good OT. I am wondering if there is and work experience that I could gain in Scotland to help my chances of University? Many thanks, Cameron Shearer
Cameron - 11-Nov-20 @ 10:56 AM
Hello, My name is Paige and I am currently on a gap year but hoping to study occupational therapy next year at uni. I live in Southampton and am looking to gain any relevant experience and any help in this would be much appreciated!
Paige Chance - 20-Oct-20 @ 1:28 PM
Hi, I am currently in my final year of studying philosophy and hope to complete a masters in Occupational Therapy. I am looking to gain experience and to use my spare time to make a positive difference. I am currently based in Sheffield but will be moving back to Newcastle in July 2021. Any details of how to get involved and volunteer OT opportunities in either area would be such a big help, thank you.
Freya - 13-Oct-20 @ 1:44 PM
Hi i have currently taken a gap year from university hoping to do a degree in occupational therapy next year , i would really appreciate some work experience shadowing a OT as i feel that would be invaluble for my course next year to get an insight into my future career
Fozi - 12-Oct-20 @ 9:43 PM
Hi my name is Rohma I am a third year student and hoping to do a masters in occupational therapy next year. I am looking to gain relevant work experience which will give me a wider insight and knowledge. Regards, Rohma
rohma - 12-Oct-20 @ 5:28 PM
Hi Im interested in volunteering in the Manchester area if there are any opportunities. Thanks Georgina
Georgina - 10-Oct-20 @ 10:13 AM
Hi, I am very interested in the volunteering you have highlighted above. As a recent graduate I am looking to specialise in the field of Occupational Therapy. I would appreciate if someone would send on further details of how to apply to this role. Thanks.
Dan - 5-Oct-20 @ 3:39 PM
Hi. I am currently considering a career change and am looking into retraining to become an OT. I am based in Sheffield and would be interested in what OT shadowing and volunteering opportunities there are in this city. I would be very grateful if I could be advised on how best to approach this career change. Many thanks, Amy.
Amy - 30-Sep-20 @ 1:56 PM
I am a psychology graduate very keen to train in Occupational therapy. I am keen to gain experience but given the current covid restrictions can you recommend roles or OTA opportunities? I am in the Suffolk area. Thanks.
Poppy - 26-Sep-20 @ 10:33 PM
Hi I’m currently a second year student nurse. Ive always wanted to do ot but there were no close university’s doing the course so i ended up doing nurse. I really want experience shadowing an OT so i can have an insight on what i want to do in my future as now i am slightly confused. Thank you
Badz - 25-Sep-20 @ 3:18 PM
I would love to volunteer, I am a mother living in Cambridge. I want to pursue OT at university next year and this experience will be invaluable!
Ksenia - 17-Sep-20 @ 5:06 PM
Hi I'm doing level 3 diploma in OT.I would love to hear from anyone in the bham area.I available to start asap. Thanks
Suki - 9-Sep-20 @ 1:31 PM
Hi, I am a recent psychology graduate and I would love the opportunity to volunteer as an OTA and gain some experience for my masters course next year. I live in West London, but anywhere in London would be great. Thank you!
May - 7-Sep-20 @ 8:39 PM
Hi! I’m a recent graduate but I’m looking to now pursue a career in occupational therapy and am hoping to get some volunteering in the field before applying to study a masters in OT. Please let me know if you have any helpful advice! Thanks
Rebecca - 3-Sep-20 @ 7:25 AM
Hello, I'd like to gain some experience as an OT. I have a psychology degree but would like to work as an OT. I live in canterbury and work full time. Do you have any advice you can send me? Thanks Heidi
Heidi - 1-Sep-20 @ 11:06 AM
Hello, I am eager to expand my knowledge and work along side the OT professionals, as I look to starting a university degree in this rewarding field of expertise. Would love the opportunity to volunteer, please let me know if and where I can find this, around the Worcestershire area. Thank you!
Lily - 28-Aug-20 @ 2:12 PM
Could someone contact me with more information please. Many thanks
Charlotte - 23-Aug-20 @ 4:31 PM
Hi I would like to volunteer as an Ota whilst studying for a level 2 in health and socialcare in the bham area please. Bw
N/a - 17-Aug-20 @ 2:26 PM
Hello! I recently completed my degree in English Language and Linguistics, and after spending 6 months volunteering at a brain injury rehabilitation charity, I am keen to gain more experience that might enable me to study and OT or SLT as a masters. I am currently based in Bradford/Leeds/York, so anything around there would be great, but I am also considering moving back home to Cambridgeshire, so that would also be a possibilty. Any suggestions? Thanks, H.
HM - 12-Aug-20 @ 9:55 AM
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
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