Home-Based Occupational Therapy
What is an occupational therapist?
The role of an occupational therapist, or OT, is to help individuals maintain independence by teaching them ways to modify everyday tasks and activities that they can no longer do or have difficulty completing on their own. This could be due to certain conditions, such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, traumatic injury, stroke, etc. An OT can help individuals learn how to use assistive technology, learn different ways to complete tasks, suggest safety measures for the home, and train caregivers. Some OT’s help with cognitive aspects of daily life, such as helping with organization, routines, and problem-solving.
When to consider occupational therapy in the home
Occupational therapy is offered in a variety of settings, including the client’s home. There are various reasons for home-based OT. Some individuals, especially children, benefit from occupational therapy at home due to being in a familiar environment. This also includes those who find routine changes difficult, autistic individuals, or those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Benefits of at-home occupational therapy
There are many benefits to having occupational therapy in a home setting. The care provided is more individualized. Additionally, the occupational therapist can see the space and layout of the home. This allows them to make better suggestions for adaptations, and to have a hands-on approach in helping make changes in behaviors. For example, the therapist can see the height of the client’s cabinets and take into account what tools may be beneficial in reaching items on a top shelf.
Home-based OT also provides the opportunity to work with family members and caregivers. Those with memory issues may struggle with recalling how to properly use mobility devices, organizational methods that are taught, or physical activities that should be done. When family members and caregivers are present during the sessions, they can help the individual to remember the instructions. They can also provide the therapist a better sense of what is occurring at home, especially when an individual may not remember or may not be fully honest with their therapist.