quick reference guide for occupational therapy

Review of “Quick Reference to Occupational Therapy”

When I started working in inpatient rehab, I felt totally clueless to all the conditions I was seeing.

My favorite and most-used resource during that time was the Quick Reference Guide to Occupational Therapy by Kathlyn L. Reed. 

It has been massively useful at times when I need to look up something very specific fast. I use this book regularly and will share with you why I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

1. Good for All OTs and COTAs

It is super helpful for OT and COTA students as well as working COTAs and OTRs in any setting – for all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics.

2. TONS and TONS of In-Depth Content

I love this book due to the vast amount of information it covers. Every page is jam packed with a deep level of information on each subject. Think of this book as the Wikipedia for occupational therapy.

3. Portable Size

The book is super dense but still is not too big in terms of size and weight. It’s portable so you can take with you to fieldwork or your first OT jobs. It is kind of thick, but won’t take up too much space in your backpack.

4. Good For Experienced OTs Too

Even if you aren’t a student or new grad, you’ll appreciate the comprehensive material of the book. It’s especially useful when brushing up on disorders you haven’t seen in a while.

5. Did I Mention the In-Depth Content?!

The book covers everything, from developmental disorders and sensory disorders to nervous system disorders, as well as cardiopulmonary disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and hand/wrist conditions.

If that’s not enough for you, the book also covers immunologic/infectious diseases, skin disorders cognitive-perceptual disorders, mental disorders and lifestyle disorders (holy moly!).

Each topic includes a description, cause, assessments used in evaluations, treatments/interventions, problems experienced by the client, precautions, and prognosis/outcomes. The topics also use evidence-based research with references to each of the studies in each section so you can look up those articles if you want further information.

Cons of the Quick Reference to Occupational Therapy

One downside of the book is that like most educational books, it’s a bit cost-prohibitive for students and new grads. On Amazon, it sells for $75 for the current edition.

There is, however, a 2nd edition available on Amazon from the year 2000 that is only $25 if you’re on a tight budget but still want a portable, comprehensive resource. While the evidence and content in the older edition may be outdated, the general info about the diagnoses, interventions, precautions, and assessments probably won’t be too much different than the current edition.

You can purchase the Quick Reference textbook directly from Amazon.


To be fully transparent, the link includes a small affiliate commission at no additional cost to you that goes directly back into supporting this site. The opinions expressed here are all 100% my own.

I’d love to hear from you if you also use this book or if you have any additional insights on it as well as other resources that have helped you in your occupational therapy practice.


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  • Tania Samuel August 9, 2019   Reply →

    I ordered this today, looking forward to using it for my first Inpatient Rehab job!

    • Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L August 12, 2019   Reply →

      Awesome, it will definitely be super helpful for you in your inpatient rehab. Good luck to you!

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