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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment(3144)

This unit group includes specialized therapists not elsewhere classified who use techniques such as art, athletic, dance, music or recreational therapy or remedial gymnastics to aid in the treatment of mental and physical disabilities. They are employed by establishments such as hospitals, rehabilitation centres, clinics, recreational centres, nursing homes, educational institutions, prisons and day-care facilities or may work in private practice.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read e-mails on a variety of topics from supervisors, co-workers, colleagues and patients. (2)
  • Read flyers and brochures to learn about new services available in the community and to find information of interest to patients and other therapy professionals. (2)
  • Read organizational bulletins outlining policy or procedure changes and advertising upcoming events. For instance, they may read about new incident reporting procedures or new policies on excluding patients from groups. They refer to these bulletins for information which may affect their own therapy and assessment practices. (3)
  • Read about the culture of clients from different ethnic groups. They select and integrate relevant information from books and magazines to learn more about cultural symbols and to identify cultural differences which may affect therapeutic assessment or treatment. (3)
  • Read patients' medical history forms and care records to gather information needed for assessments and intervention plans. The observations, conclusions and recommendations in the patients' records are usually written by health professionals using precise medical and clinical terminology. (3)
  • Read trade publications to stay abreast of emerging theories, techniques and trends in their field of therapy. For example, athletic therapists and remedial gymnasts may read about the effectiveness of massage, joint mobilization, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, iontophoresis, phonophoresis, stretching and other therapeutic exercises in the correction of orthopaedic injuries. They are required to understand the subject matter in these publications so that they can pass on current information and answer questions from patients and health professionals. (4)
  • Read articles in medical journals to learn about their patients' pathologies, psychopathologies, dysfunctions or disorders and to be able to recognize the symptoms or behaviours related to the side effects of particular drugs. For example, art, dance, music and recreational therapists read articles about a range of psychological conditions such as childhood disorders, physical and sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and chemical dependency, eating and anxiety disorders and phobias. These articles contain specialized terminology intended for an expert audience. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Scan referral forms from doctors to locate information about diagnoses. (1)
  • Review the lists of objectives to be reached by patients as a result of therapy. (1)
  • Locate drug types and drug dosages on the labels of pharmaceuticals prescribed to patients. (1)
  • Refer to images of common shapes, colours and objects to elicit patient response when verbal communication is limited due to a mental or physical disability. (2)
  • Skim calendars prepared by professional associations, educational institutions and other organizations to locate information about lectures, courses, conferences, symposia, workshops or seminars they might attend. (2)
  • Scan group participants' feedback forms at the end of athletic, dance, sports, gymnastics, aerobics, drawing, crafting, music or recreational activities. They scan the forms for names, dates, satisfaction ratings and other data. (3)
  • Record patients' progress and overall program success on tracking forms. For example, at each therapy session, an art, dance, music or recreational therapist may enter checkmarks, codes and short phrases on a series of tracking forms to describe patients' social, emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual states and their responses to treatment. (3)
  • May interpret patients' drawings and paintings to assess their mental states and progress. For example, a therapist may analyse the symbols and spatial arrangement on patients' art work to understand how they feel about themselves, where they are in their development, what conflicts they are experiencing and how they are dealing with them. (3)
  • May search musical scores to find pieces with the right melodies and rhythms for therapy. For example, a music therapist may interpret a musical score and adjust the tempo to fit the rhythm of a patient's breathing in order to help stabilize the breathing. A music therapist may also review music scores to select pieces at an appropriate level for patients to play and express their moods and ideas. (4)
  • Interpret graphs contained in textbooks, trade publications, research papers, medical journals and websites to learn about the effectiveness of techniques used in the treatment of mental or physical illnesses, dysfunctions or disorders. They combine information from a number of graphs and accompanying texts to fully understand the effectiveness of a technique. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write e-mails to co-workers, colleagues and patients to schedule or confirm meetings, ask for information, or respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write comments in patients' files to keep running records of what happened in each therapy session. (1)
  • Write short progress reports for the benefit of other health care providers working with the same patients. In typical reports, they describe patients' strengths and weaknesses, outline the work still to be done and make recommendations. (2)
  • Write intervention plans based on assessments conducted jointly with other health care professionals or with the direct input from patients. These intervention plans vary in length and complexity, but each one identifies the goals to be reached by a patient as a result of therapy, proposed activities and measurable outcomes. Therapists refer to these plans when assessing patients' progress. (3)
  • Write the text for brochures and leaflets to promote therapeutic approaches or programs. These promotional materials generally explain what the approach or program is, who can benefit from it and what happens in a therapy session. They may also state the academic, personal and professional qualifications of the therapist or therapists. Therapists must gather, select and rewrite information from various sources for a mixed audience of patients and patient care providers. (4)
  • May write scholarly articles about qualitative or quantitative research for journals which specialize in a field of therapy or practice. The writing usually involves describing the experimental design and the difficulties encountered in conducting the experiment and collecting data. Each article must present a detailed discussion of results obtained and recommendations for further research. For example, an art therapist may write an article about the effectiveness of an art therapy intervention for instilling a sense of identity in emotionally disturbed adolescents. (5)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Make change for patients who pay cash for therapy sessions or group activities. (1)
  • Calculate amounts on expense claims for outings with patients. On the expense claims, they include the distances travelled, the per kilometre rates, the costs of rooms, meals, applicable taxes and incidentals at daily rates. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting and Accounting Math
  • Compare prices on program materials, equipment and therapy supplies to determine best buys. (1)
  • Set daily and weekly schedules of appointments with patients, allowing sufficient time in between appointments to return calls and write comments in patients' files. (2)
  • May schedule group programs for institutionalized patients, factoring in facilities' established timetables and patients' appointments with other health care professionals. They may have to revise their schedules to ensure that all patients can attend group sessions and adhere to intervention plans. (3)
  • Establish and monitor budgets for particular projects, programs or services. They have to ensure that the cost of supplies, materials, specialized equipment, maintenance, advertising and outside services are fully covered by budgets. They frequently have to adjust their budgets because of unforeseen expenses. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May measure out quantities of paint to water to achieve the desired proportions or measure ingredients when teaching cooking recipes to patients. They may also adjust quantities as a function of the number of group participants. (2)
  • May measure the time required for selected pieces to be played by or for patients. They may also track the time of musical programs and presentations. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Analyse quantitative data on patients' attendance at group activities to detect trends over time. (2)
  • May develop and analyse quantitative measures of patients' satisfaction with activities or of the popularity of various therapy programs. This involves computing average satisfaction ratings across sets of feedback forms for several aspects of each activity and drawing conclusions. (3)
  • May compare the rate of effectiveness of a therapeutic approach between two populations. For example, an athletic therapist may compare the percentages of children and adults noticing improvements of their health condition after a series of aquatherapy sessions. The therapist may then use this information to direct patients towards activities which are likely to be more effective. (4)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the length of time needed to complete group activities, based on experience. (1)
  • Estimate the area of rooms or the number of spaces by eyeballing. They have to ensure that rooms selected for group activities can safely accommodate all participants. (1)
  • Estimate the number of therapy sessions required by patients to achieve desired outcomes. Each estimate is based on a review of a patient's health history, current status and objectives to be reached as a result of therapy. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Talk to suppliers to order or inquire about room bookings, supplies, materials and equipment. (1)
  • Interact with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, clinical dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and other health care professionals to share information on patients, policies, programs and resources, and to coordinate group activities. (2)
  • Give presentations to health care managers, association and community members on the effectiveness of new therapy programs, approaches and techniques. Stakeholders attending these presentations may be unfamiliar with the concepts and philosophies conveyed. Therapists must dispel myths and increase the knowledge base of unpredictable and often challenging audiences. (3)
  • Speak with patients to assess them, get their input in the design of intervention plans and implement therapies. They question patients about areas of interest, let patients express their feelings and concerns, and help them to establish objectives for therapy. They discuss treatment options, establish trust and encourage patients' active involvement in therapy. (4)
  • Speak with patients' families to develop a sense of family dynamics and gain support for therapeutic processes. For example, therapists may explain the therapeutic approach, expected benefits and modalities to patients' family members. They may review the patients' treatment objectives and progress. They may discuss behaviours, undiagnosed observations and support systems. They may also teach family members how they can contribute to the success of the therapies. (4)
  • Lead therapeutic activities with small and large groups of patients. The therapists' role is to monitor and support each participant, through a variety of exercises and settings, in restoring, maintaining or developing his physical, cognitive, psycho-social or emotional health. During activities, therapists listen and observe patients to assess their progress. They facilitate feedback sessions to elicit patients' comments and suggestions for making the activities more pleasurable and effective. (4)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May have juvenile patients brought in for assessment or treatment by social workers or relatives without written consent from parents or guardians. In such cases, they contact the parents or guardians and make arrangements for consent forms to be completed and returned before assessment or treatment begins. (1)
  • Deal with situations where a group activity is at the right skill level for some patients but too high for others. For example, during a comedy night activity in a residential care facility, four residents can conceptualize the humour while three cannot. The recreational therapist on duty quickly brings the group back to a discussion about humour to stop the frustration from increasing and finish the activity on a positive note. (2)
  • May not obtain sufficient support at times from co-workers or colleagues who have misconceptions about their field of practice. For example, a co-worker may only see the superficial aspects of a music therapy session. The music therapist takes the time to describe the particular rhythmic approach being used and outline its benefits for target populations to the co-worker. (2)
  • May get low participation in group sessions they organize. In these cases, therapists often look for scheduling conflicts with other activities and events and, when they find them, re-schedule sessions to encourage attendance. For example, a music therapist may discover that a new weekly bingo 'super event' is conflicting with a psychiatric hospital's choir practice. The therapist reschedules choir practice times and attendance returns to normal. (2)
  • Experience difficulties in getting some of their patients to talk to them. They try different verbal and non-verbal techniques in order to build trust and establish safe and open environments in which these patients will be comfortable and willing to talk. If therapists are unsuccessful in getting patients to open up, they may discuss patients' progress with interdisciplinary teams to gain information that will suggest new approaches, or they may recommend different types of therapies for the patients. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide what equipment to purchase for different activities. They make their decisions based on analyses of budgets and of the interests and skill levels of patients. Items which will be used most by the greatest number of patients are given a high priority. (2)
  • Decide which community services, organizations and businesses to approach to build working partnerships. They start by approaching the ones they feel will be the most beneficial for their patient populations. They build other partnerships as needs arise. (2)
  • Decide what programs, activities and structure to offer patients based on their treatment plans. Therapists use professional knowledge to decide the levels and types of activities that will challenge patients while allowing them to remain within their comfort zones. (3)
  • May decide to exclude disruptive patients from therapy groups after a few attempts at convincing them to change their behaviour. They must first analyse the implications, both positive and negative of such decisions. For example, they may refrain from excluding a patient whose self-esteem is very low. (3)
  • Decide to recommend interventions in patients' plans. Therapists' recommendations are based on a review of patients' medical history forms and care records; an assessment of their social, emotional, physical and cognitive states through observation and discussion; a review of objectives to be met as a result of therapy; and an analysis of available treatment options which are compatible with patients' interests. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate their patients' progress on a regular basis. Therapists choose or design appropriate forms on which they record their patients' responses to treatments. At fixed intervals, they review completed forms to analyse their patients' strengths and weaknesses and the work still to be done with respect to objectives identified in intervention plans. As a result of these evaluations, they may recommend adjustments in the treatments. (3)
  • Assess the satisfaction of group participants with athletic, dance, sports, gymnastics, aerobics, drawing, crafting, music or recreational activities or programs which they design or coordinate. At the end of each activity or program, therapists may facilitate feedback sessions or they may design and distribute evaluation forms to be completed by participants. (3)
  • May assess their patients' mental states by interpreting their drawings, paintings, movements or musical productions. For example, an art therapist may analyse the symbols and spatial arrangement on a patient's art work to evaluate how he feels about himself, where he is in his development, what conflicts he is experiencing and how he is dealing with them. A music therapist may analyze a patient's instrument choice, manner of playing, capacity to listen to others and ability to express emotions in order to evaluate the patient's level of functioning, social skills, mood and self-image. (3)
  • May assess the effectiveness of various techniques and approaches for the treatment of mental or physical illnesses, dysfunctions or disorders. They may design and conduct experiments, evaluate results and offer recommendations based on the evidence. They may publish their results and recommendations in trade publications or academic journals. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

The majority of professionals in therapy and assessment work in a dynamic hospital, nursing or residential care environment. Their work is team-oriented so that they must integrate their interventions, activities and programs with those of an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, clinical dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and other health professionals to ensure seamless patient care. Often dealing with the frail, ill or elderly, they must frequently revise their plans and schedules to deal with unexpected events as they arise. They must be able to establish their own priorities and to sequence multiple tasks for efficiency and effectiveness. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Professionals in therapy and assessment may contribute to the long-term and strategic planning of their organizations and play a central role in organizing, planning and scheduling day to day activities in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, clinics, recreational centres, nursing homes, educational institutions, prisons and day-care facilities. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Recall the names of their patients, co-workers and colleagues to facilitate communication.
  • Remember details about their patients' lives, fears, likes and dislikes to save time, show genuine interest and build trust.
  • Remember security codes to access computers, photocopiers and fax machines.
  • Remember details of group activities to ensure follow-up.
Finding Information
  • Refer to patients' intervention plans to find lists of therapy objectives. (1)
  • Find the names, addresses and telephone numbers of local businesses and community organizations by asking their co-workers and looking in phone lists and directories. (2)
  • Search a wide range of sources including textbooks, trade publications, research abstracts, professional association publications and websites to find information about pathologies, psychopathologies, dysfunctions and disorders. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use the Internet. For example, they use Internet Explorer and Navigator to access community program websites and search for information about particular medical conditions, treatments, cultures and therapeutic approaches. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they use word processing software to write activity schedules and project proposals. To create project proposals, they import tables, graphics and spreadsheets from other applications and use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, indexes, columns and footnotes. (3)
  • Use a database. For example, they may design databases to store patient files or track patient attendances. They may also run queries. (3)
  • Use a spreadsheet. For example, they use programs like Excel to create budgeting spreadsheets and track expenditures. (3)
  • Use communications software. For example, they create and maintain electronic address books, receive correspondence and send individual or group e-mail messages with attached documents to patients and patient care providers. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they use software to design and deliver presentations for patient care providers and patients about therapeutic programs or activities. To create these presentations, they may import graphics drawn with Corel Draw, Clip Art images, word processing files and spreadsheet tables. (4)
  • May use specialized software. For example, music therapists may download songs using MP3, construct musical scores using Music Time or Finale or edit scores using Qbase. Athletic therapists may use Exercise Pro to develop individualized exercise programs for their patients. Recreational therapists may use Creative Forecasting to develop a leisure profile of each patient. (4)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Professionals in Therapy and Assessment perform most of their tasks independently but they usually coordinate their work with teams of health care providers. They work independently when observing patients, developing intervention plans, implementing therapy and maintaining patient records. In hospitals, rehabilitation centres, clinics, recreational centres, nursing homes, educational institutions, prisons and day care facilities, they work in interdisciplinary teams to assess patients, set intervention goals and organize group activities. They coordinate their own work with that of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, clinical dietitians, occupational therapists, psychologists and other health care professionals and share information about patients. (3)

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is an integral part of the job for professionals in therapy and assessment. They are expected to know where to get information when required and to keep up-to-date on theories, techniques and trends in their field of therapy. On a day-to-day basis, these professionals acquire new learning by reading information found in textbooks, trade publications, research papers, medical journals and professional association publications. They also listen to audiotapes, attend departmental lectures, view videotapes, browse the Internet and discuss professional matters with colleagues and other healthcare professionals. In some provinces and fields of specialization, therapists need to be certified by a professional association. They may be required to set up their own learning plans and to achieve or exceed a certain number of Continuous Education Units to retain their certification. They generally obtain such units through self-directed learning, by giving performances or by attending courses, conferences, symposia, workshops or seminars. (4)

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