General Occupational Therapy Assessment
There are many older adults living in the community who have poor mobility and have had falls, as well as memory and other cognitive impairments, and families worry about their ability to live safely in their own homes. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can conduct a comprehensive home safety assessment that includes:
- Bathroom safety
- Mobility and transfers
- Memory and thinking skills
If necessary, an OT can provide recommendations for number of home support hours are required to ensure safety, and assist the individual and their family with navigating through the Long Term Care program with the Department of Social Development.
Home Safety Assessments
OTs are trained in conducting assessments of an individual's memory, orientation, attention, organization, judgment, and reasoning skills using various standardized assessments. These assessments include “paper and pencil” tests as well as functional performance tests. One well known functional test is the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills, or AMPS, which is a standardized assessment that examines the abilities that a person has while completing a common daily task (i.e. making a sandwich, pot of tea). The AMPS indicates whether or not the individual requires assistance with daily activities, and deficit areas that require rehabilitation.
If an individual has had a brain injury, stroke, brain tumor, or other brain related event, an OT can provide activities to rebuild cognitive capacities, such as memory, concentration, organization, planning, or strategies to manage with these deficits in daily activities.
When an individual has been in hospital or a rehabilitation facility for a prolonged period of time and has had a change in ability or physical status, an OT can assess the client’s home to determine the adaptive aids/rehabilitation equipment that will be suitable in the person’s home environment prior to their return home.
For individuals who have pressure sores over bony parts of their bodies (i.e. tailbone, hips, heels), an OT can make recommendations to reduce pressure in order to assist with pressure sore healing.
Pressure Sore Management
Adaptive Aids/Rehabilitation Equipment Prescription
An OT is an expert in function, and will assess an individual’s ability to perform daily activities. When an individual has difficulty performing a certain activity, adaptive aids and rehabilitation equipment can be prescribed to make performing daily activities easier and more safe. Examples include:
- Bathroom equipment—toilet seats, bath benches, shower chairs, hand held showers, grab bars.
- Aids to assist with transfers– transfer poles, grab bars, bed rails, ceiling track lifts, floor lifts.
- Activities of Daily Living Aids—weighted utensils, button hook, sock aid, long handled reacher.
Wheelchair and Seating Assessment and Prescription
A comprehensive assessment of the individual in their home environment will be conducted to fit that person with the most appropriate wheelchair and all necessary components. An OT in conjunction with the client & rehabilitation assistant will determine whether the client is best suited for a manual or power wheelchair. Individuals are assessed with trial wheelchairs to ensure comfort and ease of operation in order to determine the exact wheelchair prescription. All required paperwork for insurance purposes, including signed doctor’s prescription, justification letter, and two quotes, will be acquired by the OT on behalf of the client/family.
Home Modification Assessment and Recommendations
When an individual is no longer able to perform their daily activities in their home environment due to a physical barrier in the home, an OT can provide recommendations for home modifications that will improve access, making daily activities less effortful. Samples include providing recommendations for a ramp or lift, bathroom/ shower renovations, kitchen modifications, and bedroom alterations.
Care Allowance Assessments
An OT has the skills and knowledge to provide education to caregivers regarding safe handling for transferring individuals who require assistance in moving. This includes use of transfer belts, patient lifts and slings, and specific transfer techniques to maintain back health and prevent caregiver injury.