OTPF-4 Update – Changes and What’s New for Occupational Therapy’s Practice Framework

Just like you were able with the OTPF 3, you can get a hold of the OTPF-4 from AOTA’s American Journal of Occupational Therapy as an article if you are a member or as a separate book purchase from their store. You can read about the changes in the OTPF in the first few secion titled Evolution of this document.


Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is defined as the therapeutic use of everyday life occupations with persons, groups, or populations (i.e., the client) for the purpose of enhancing or enabling participation.

Occupational Science

Occupational science provides a way of thinking that enables an understanding of occupation, the occupational nature of humans, the relationship between occupation, health and well-being, and the influences that shape occupation.


Occupation is the everyday personalized activities that people do as individuals, in families, and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life.


Health Management – New Occupation

Health management (moved from IADL in OTPF-3) is defined as activities related to developing, managing, and maintaining health and wellness routines, including self-management, with the goal of improving or maintaining health to support participation in other occupations.


  • Previously known as context and environment
  • Virtual is listed under context as a virtual environment.

Virtual – Intervention & Service Delivery

  • Example – telehealth is the use of the virtual intervention in a virtual context.

Groups and Populations

  • Emphasis on groups and populations in addition to the client.


  • Also known as discharge (D/C).


  • Transition is the movement from one life role or experience to another.
  • Examples: hospital to skilled nursing, early intervention to elementary school, inpatient to driver rehab & hand therapy (within OT), or another discipline (e.g., optometrist).
  • Groups and Populations can transition as well, e.g. middle school to high school; falls prevention program to community exercise program.


Preparatory methods and tasks (OTPF-3) -> “Interventions to support occupations”

Other Terminology and Definitions

  • Psychosocial – general mental functions, as they develop over the life span, required to understand and constructively integrate the mental functions that lead to the formation of the personal and inter-personal skills needed to establish reciprocal social interactions, in terms of both meaning and purpose.
  • Sexual activity – engaging in the broad possibilities for sexual expression and experiences with self or others (e.g., hugging, kissing, foreplay, masturbation, oral sex, intercourse).
  • Intimate partner relationships – engaging in activities to initiate and maintain a close relationship, including giving and receiving affection and interacting in desired roles; intimate partners may or may not engage in sexual activity.
  • Gender identity (body functions) – is now included under “experience of self and time.”
  • Interoception – the internal detection of changes in the internal organs through sensory receptors, e.g. awareness of hunger and thirst.

Other Changes

This is not the complete list of changes in the OTPF-4. See the OTPF-4 for all of the changes that were made.