If you have had a recent surgery or hospital stay, Home Health care may be just what you need. Occupational therapists have so much to offer in this setting. You can benefit from education on modifying your home to ease tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and other daily tasks that you need to perform to keep your home running smoothly. These include positioning and organization of items to be within reach, techniques to improve the safety of getting around in your home and reducing falls, or equipment to use to make tasks easier such as wagons or bags for transportation of trash or laundry.
Occupational therapists can also help with education on adaptive equipment to make going to the bathroom, bathing, and dressing easier. Things like reachers, sock aids, and long-handled shoe horns can make putting on pants and shoes easier for someone with difficulty bending forward. OTs can help measure for grab bars and shower chairs to fit your specific space. They are also knowledgeable in what equipment is available commercially. One example, if you have difficulty standing from a low toilet and do not like the look of a toilet seat riser, pedestals can be installed under the stool to elevate and maintain a “normal” look.
OTs have a trained eye to spot safety hazards and educate patients on how to correct them. A person with low vision may find climbing steps to be a fall risk. An OT might suggest installing brightly colored tape on the outside of each step to increase the person’s confidence and security. Changing the location of rugs and cords, removal of clutter, and elevating sitting surfaces are a few more suggestions an OT might offer.
Occupational therapists are trained to target precise muscle groups to strengthen for specific tasks and increase endurance. If a person is having trouble reaching items above shoulder level an OT will provide a Home Exercise Program to strengthen the rotator cuff or shoulder muscles that allow your shoulder to reach up in front of you.
The main goal of occupational therapy is to assist patients in redeeming their skills for independent living. Specific treatments are implemented for the quick advancement of the patient’s condition. Treatments start by developing a personalized care plan appropriate for the patient’s condition.
Other functions include:
- Strengthening/endurance training to return to a prior level of function
- Energy Conservation/Work Simplification strategies
- Safety education and fall prevention education
- Restoring Muscle Control/Strength
- Body Mechanics
- Basic Skills Evaluation
- Basic Level Skills Education and Training
- Adaptive Equipment Training
- Exercise Programs
- Home Modifications
Whether you have a specific goal in mind post-surgery, or would just benefit from generalized strengthening and education on safety, an OT can help. If you or a loved one is struggling to maintain in-home independence a doctor can write an order for Home Health Occupational Therapy.