Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are part of the home care therapy team assisting older adults, their families, and caregivers. Occupational therapists (OT) and certified occupational therapy assistants (COTA) provide critical assessment, training and support to help patients remain as independent as possible while staying safely in their home environments.
Our therapists are trained in assessing and managing personal and household risk factors in all activities for older adults. Establishing clients’ goals and priorities with adaptations and home equipment that support their ability to participate in meaningful activities are the main functions of occupational therapy. Physical therapy ensures that the patient’s plan of care including the physician’s order is carried out, and that physician consults in the ordering of additional prosthetic and orthotic devices assist the patient’s care.
Additionally, occupational therapists train patients, family members, and other caregivers how to identify and avoid the risk of falls in the home. Hazards that lead to falls can include stairs in need of repair, lack of grab bars or railings, poor lighting, throw rugs and the patient’s own weaknesses, poor vision or limited perception.
We can also work with older patients to overcome their fear of falling. Fear of falling can develop as a consequence of previous falls or simply because of a lack of confidence or psychological or social factors. Fear of falling can limit a patient’s desire or ability to stay active, eventually contributing to more weakness, deconditioning and decreased stamina.
Fall prevention and overcoming the fear of falling can be cost-effective treatments in the home setting that reduce health care costs and improve quality of life later on.
The following are some of the functions addressed by occupational therapy:
- Workers’ Compensation cases
- Fear of falling, fall prevention
- In-home safety
- Improving daily function
- Transfer techniques
- Identifying household hazards
- Upper body strengthening
- Improving motor skills
- Utilization of various equipment including prosthetic and orthotic services