Occupational Therapy Practice

Trusted knowledge resources to support evidence-informed health care delivery by Occupational Therapists and related staff within Nova Scotia Health.

Practising as an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists work at most sites within Nova Scotia Health. They are responsible for the overall coordination and direction of occupational therapy-related client care. 

As an autonomous, self-regulated health professional, an occupational therapist may function as a primary caregiver (through direct access); a member of an occupational therapy clinical team; and/or a member of an interdisciplinary team within the hospital. 

Practice settings are varied and may include: 

  • Primary care
  • Acute care 
  • Ambulatory care or outpatient services
  • Subacute services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Long term care
  • Community
  • Mental health

Occupational therapists work in collaboration with the client, and their caregivers, family and health care team to facilitate, restore and/or maintain the client's optimal level of function in the areas of self-care, productivity and leisure, depending on service area. 

The occupational therapy team may include occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and/or rehabilitation assistants.


The Model of Care Initiative in Nova Scotia (MOCINS) is a joint initiative of the Department of Health & Wellness, district health authorities, and IWK Health.

The role profile defines the scope of practice and identifies opportunities for role optimization. The position description operationalizes the profile into a human resources tool that can be used for determining rate of pay, recruitment, performance management, orientation, career development, etc.

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice is defined as the activities in which health care professionals are educated and authorized to perform, and encompass multiple dimensions.1 Scope of practice can include not only a profession’s scope, but also an individual’s competence, as well as their employer-defined roles and responsibilities.

Scope of Employment

Occupational therapists will only perform assessments and interventions that are within their scope of employment (see Appendix B of COTNS Practice Guideline: Scope of Practice). 

This is the range of roles and responsibilities that are defined by the employer through legislation, job descriptions, policies and procedures, guidelines, orientation processes and education.1


  1. College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (2015). Adding New Interventions to the Registered Nurse Role: Decision Making Framework. Halifax, NS.