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Ethics for Occupational Therapists

Bill Asenjo, PhD, CRC; Linda Bagby, OTR

CE Credit: 3 Hours

Target Audience: Occupational Therapy CEUs

Learning Level: Introductory

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Ethics for Occupational Therapists is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches OTs how to handle ethical and moral dilemmas in practice. Ethical and moral issues pervade our lives, especially in the healthcare arena. Occupational therapists are frequently confronted with a variety of ethical and moral dilemmas, and their decisions can have long-range effects both professionally and personally. Why does one decision win out over another? What does the decision process involve? How do these decisions impact those involved?

Occupational therapists, by the nature of choosing this particular profession, are engaged in an “ethic of care,” where activities of daily living are not just a function, but also an expression of values. Helping people maintain their maximum possible functioning is seen in relation to society and the common good of all persons. This is an abstract ideal that must be put into practice in an imperfect world. How does the occupational therapist make decisions about what is best for the person when there are difficult choices to make? 

This course will address these questions from the framework of ethical decision models and the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Code of Ethics.

Course #30-89 | 2016 | 43 pages | 20 posttest questions

Learning Objectives

1. Describe two sources of ethical dilemmas in healthcare
2. Identify core principles of the AOTA Code of Ethics
3. Identify solutions to bioethical issues and dilemmas
4. List two models of decision-making processes for solving ethical dilemmas
5. List the obligations that an OT must address when faced with an ethical dilemma
6. List two resources for further study of ethical issues

AOTA Approved Provider

Professional Development Resources
is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education (#3159). OT Content Focus - Professional Issues: Contemporary Issues & Trends. This program is offered for 0.3 CEUs. The assignment of AOTA CEU's does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners; the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy Practice; the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635) (all courses are reported within two business days of completion). Participant successfully completed the required assessment component for this activity.

As part of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Approved Provider renewal process, AOTA is requesting that participants of this course complete a short online survey about your continuing education experience with our organization. Completing this survey will enter you into a quarterly drawing for a $100 voucher for AOTA publications or CE. To access the survey go to http://www.aota.org/appsurvey.

Thank you for your participation.


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Bill Asenjo, PhD, CRC, has been a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and vocational rehabilitation consultant since 1994. He completed his PhD in the University of Iowa's Rehabilitation Counseling program, and received an MS in health science, specializing in rehabilitation counseling, from the University of Florida. He has provided expert testimony in more than 100 hearings, trials and depositions. As a consultant to attorneys in disability-related cases, his reports have garnered glowing testimonials. An internationally published and award-winning freelance writer with fifteen years of experience, his work appears in numerous print and online publications, ranging from medical encyclopedias and health magazines, to trade publications for attorneys and anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul. On the way to his PhD, he received a writing award for his dissertation.


Financial: No relevant financial relationships exist.
Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.

Linda Bagby, OTR, received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of clinical experience in a variety of healthcare settings, including home health, long-term care and five years of work hardening. Her area of specialization is the geriatric population. During her employment in various nursing homes and rehabilitation treatment centers, she has been faced with a number of ethical situations and challenges. Her ability to successfully cope with and overcome these challenges, make her uniquely qualified to write on this topic. Linda lives in Punta Gorda, Florida with her husband and two beautiful teenage daughters.


Financial: No relevant financial relationships exist.
Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist. 

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