Occupational Therapy Month
For Occupational Therapy Month this April, we honor the Residential Home Health clinicians who bring the prospect of safer, more independent living to so many of Residential’s patients. Unlike a nurse or physical therapist, an occupational therapist is uniquely poised to focus primarily on everyday function and safety within the home.
The practice of occupational therapy includes identifying activities that pose a struggle or safety hazard for a patient, and then adapting the task in order to fit the person doing it. Patients who work with an in-home occupational therapist are shown and coached to perform everyday activities more safely and efficiently, and may even be enabled to confidently perform some tasks that might have felt impossible before. Read on to discover more practical and life-improving benefits that these expert clinicians bring.
Safety in Daily Living
Occupational therapists educate, demonstrate, and practice safe execution of the motions and tasks that make up activities of daily living, such as preparing a meal or folding laundry. Their work can include exercises that increase strength and balance, which can make these tasks easier to achieve.
Another major component of in-home occupational therapy is evaluating a patient’s home environment for safety. An expert therapist is trained to identify fall risks throughout the home — from loose cords underfoot to bathroom hazards to unsecured, slippery accent rugs — and offer workable solutions.
Adapt and Find Solutions
The job of the in-home occupational therapist is not necessarily to change a patient’s home and routine, but rather to make small adaptations that permit him or her to age in place more safely, and possibly for longer. Sometimes these adjustments take the form of home improvements, like adding adaptive equipment for bathroom and kitchen safety. However, many simply use or reconfigure existing equipment, such as improving home lighting for patients with low vision. For seniors who live with pets, an occupational therapist can offer tips for managing the risks involved.
The assistance that an occupational therapist offers is broad indeed: stroke, Parkinson’s disease, joint replacement, cardiopulmonary disorders, chronic pain, cognitive decline, general weakness and balance problems, and incontinence are just a sampling of the health challenges that occupational therapy can help to address. Individuals experiencing a decline in functional capabilities may consider this service — such as this story of a Residential patient who flourished with the help of occupational therapy. Additionally, patients with a recent fall or history of falls, vision problems, cognition challenges, difficulty with joint function, or who use assistive devices may find greater safety, efficiency, and independence with an occupational therapist in their corner.
To determine whether you or your loved one might benefit from in-home occupational therapy or other home care services from Residential Home Health, call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click here to take our Home Care Assessment.