Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages and groups who are restricted from participation in occupations due to a mismatch between the environment and the person’s abilities. People may experience restriction of daily occupations due to impairment of body structure or functions and factors in the person’s environment: physical, social, attitudinal or legislative. Other citizens without impairment may also be restricted in their opportunities to engage in occupations due to environmental factors, experiencing occupational deprivation (for example refugees, minority groups).
Occupational therapists work in health and social areas in public and private institutions like hospitals, rehabilitation centres and nursing homes as well as in private practices, the community, schools, organisations for public health and companies for assistive technology.
In some countries in Europe occupational therapists can be registered as specialists in for instance paediatrics, mental health, elderly and hand therapy.
Whereas in some countries citizens have direct access to occupational therapists in other countries one needs a referral. The total number of occupational therapists per 100 000 inhabitants increases from south to north and from east to west Europe; the European average more than doubled during the last 25 years.