What Are Some of the Ethics Associated with Being an Occupational Therapist?

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What Are Some of the Ethics Associated with Being an Occupational Therapist?

Protecting clients and the integrity of occupational therapy is one crucial component associated with the ethics board overseeing the industry. Breaking ethical codes has real consequences, and for this reason staying up to date with occupational therapy continuing education is critical.

Ethical guidelines are important because having a set of regulations helps to keep a sense of integrity in the industry. Ethics regulations also help to keep clients physically and emotionally safe. If you are just starting out in occupational therapy or you have been in the industry for years, you might need a refresher on these main principles.


The first principle of occupational therapy ethics calls for concern for the safety and well-being of individuals who receive therapeutic services. For instance, occupational therapists must provide appropriate evaluations and intervention plans for their clients, specifically to meet their individual needs. Additionally, therapists must use up-to-date assessments and data as part of treatment plans.


Occupational therapists are required not to cause harm to clients. They may not utilize substances like drugs and alcohol when they have clients in their care. Additionally, occupational therapists must determine the proportion of risk to benefit in treatments and research.

Autonomy and Confidentiality

Occupational therapists are required to respect the rights of individuals to make their own decisions. For instance, therapists must participate in a collaborative relationship with caregivers and other professionals. Professionals must also obtain informed consent from participants involved in research and abide by HIPAA regulations.

Social Justice

Occupational therapists must provide services in a way that is fair and equitable. Additionally, therapists must promote healthy lifestyles and advocate for fair treatment for all. Occupational therapists are advocates for their clients.

Procedural Justice

Occupational therapists are required to comply with local, state, federal, and international regulations. In some cases, therapists may be part of making decisions. Decisions you are part of making should meet ethical guidelines for the industry.

in Communication

Occupational therapists should provide information that is not only complete and objective, but also accurate. You have a duty to be professional in all communication, and you must also ensure that clients understand the information you present.


As an occupational therapist, you must treat other professionals with respect and integrity. Loyalty in the healthcare industry can help you maintain positive relationships, but it may also mean that you build better connections with your clients.

Female doctor holding a clipboard and wearing a white lab coat with stethoscope around neck smiling.

Occupational therapists have an important role to play, and knowing how to respond to ethical issues is crucial.

Report Fraud & Abuse

Medicare fraud and abuse are both against the ethical principles for occupational therapists. Professionals may not knowingly submit false claims or misrepresentations. They may also not bill for unnecessary services. Insurance and Medicare fraud are often reported to local agencies for investigation.

Disciplinary Action

Occupational therapists who break these ethical standards may be reported to the Ethics Commission. Professionals, clients, caregivers, and other individuals may file complaints online or by calling the commission.

To avoid being reported for ethical violations in your industry, keep up to date with occupational therapy continuing education. Coursework often includes classes in ethics. Learn more about Occupational Therapy Courses today.

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