Q: Can I use various modalities, such as using a TENS machine, aromatherapy, taping, or yoga, in my occupational therapy practice?

A: OTs can determine which modalities to use in their practice based on their practice setting, client population, scope of services and role. OTs must be competent in the particular modality prior to using it in their practice, meaning they must have the knowledge, skills, and judgement necessary to use the modality safely and effectively. When deciding which modalities to use in practice, OTs should make decisions that are evidence-informed and based on research for the use of a specific modality with a specific group of clients in a specific setting. OTs should be able to explain the rationale behind using a modality in their practice.  


If an OT is assigning an activity to an occupational therapist assistant (OTA) that involves using a specific modality, both the OT and the OTA must be competent in using that modality. For example, if an OTA has the competency to apply a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine to a client, the OT must be also be competent and aware of any possible risks or contraindications before assigning use of the TENS machine to the OTA.


 

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