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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 address ethical and moral dilemmas in practice.

Ethical and moral issues pervade our lives and healthcare professionals are constantly confronted with a variety of ethical and moral dilemmas. Decisions can have long-range effects professionally and personally, not only for the healthcare professional, but for patients, clients, healthcare entities, and society. Why does one decision win out over another? What constitutes the decision-making process? How do decisions impact those involved?

Occupational therapists 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 OT make decisions about what is best for the person when there are difficult choices to make?

This course will discuss the common moral and ethical dilemmas that occupational therapists face and is based on the 2020 Code of Ethics of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and research that offers evidence-based practice strategies. 

Course #31-44 | 2022 | 56 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 six 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 professional development. Course provider ID# 3159. This distance learning-independent course is offered at 0.3 CEUs, introductory level, professional issues. The assignment of AOTA CEUs 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.


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.

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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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