Occupational therapists are trained professionals who assess a patient’s functional needs and help them learn new skills. OTs are typically mistaken as PTs and although their job functions overlap, they have distinct differences, as OTs focus more on the fine motor skills and activities of daily living. PTs focus more on gross mobility such as walking.
Occupational therapists in home health have a variety of different roles, from helping people adjust to new situations to managing the symptoms of a chronic illness. They assess a patient’s needs and abilities to develop a plan of care to make their lives easier. Occupational therapists help patients manage daily activities by helping them adapt to the environment and the limitations of their physical capabilities. The work of an occupational therapist can vary greatly depending on a patient’s health and ability level, the nature of their illness, and the location of their home.
The most common reason to use occupational therapy is to improve independence. As people age or develop illnesses, many of their daily activities can become difficult. Occupational therapy can help patients adapt to these changes and integrate into their social situations. Home health assessments allow occupational therapists to develop individualized plans for each patient. Occupational therapists may recommend training and equipment to assist a patient with daily activities, or they may even guide family members and friends on how to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Home health services may be covered by Medicare if a patient’s condition is serious enough to require occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is not yet a primary provider of home health services, so its coverage rules may vary by insurance company. However, the government does provide occupational therapists with a limited scope of practice. Its role in home health care is an essential part of home health, and is essential once other services have been completed.
Home health therapists specialize in helping patients recover from injury or illness by improving their ability to perform daily activities. Like physical therapists, occupational therapists help patients improve their physical movements. Their job title, however, is more specific. These professionals may assist patients with work or leisure activities, as well. A home health occupational therapist can help those who are recovering from a stroke or other physical condition.
Occupational therapists assess needs
Occupational therapists assess a patient’s home health needs to determine which modifications need to be made. Common home modifications include removing falls hazards, rearranging walkways throughout the home, and installing equipment such as handrails, grab bars, slip-resistant flooring, and medical alert systems. Because older adults often have multiple chronic conditions and take multiple medications, they need to be monitored for adverse drug reactions.
Occupational therapists assess the needs of patients in their own homes to provide home health services that improve their quality of life. With their expertise, occupational therapists help patients develop and maintain skills that enable increased independence. Many people have trouble with their mobility after major surgery, or suffer from significant illnesses or conditions that decrease strength. Brain damage can also limit one’s abilities and make daily activities difficult or impossible. Occupational therapists assess these needs and recommend appropriate resources.
Many older adults struggle to perform basic tasks. Occupational therapy can help them stay active and independent in their own homes by teaching them how to complete everyday tasks without straining their joints. It can also address the mental health issues of older adults, such as depression. Occupational therapists help older adults learn how to cope with depression and other mental health disorders, while teaching them how to structure their day and break down tasks.
While there are many issues facing the profession of home health care, OTs are crucial in addressing these challenges. In home health, OTs assess clients’ needs and create routines to optimize client compliance with the home care plan. Despite the importance of occupational therapy, the profession is still not recognized as a necessary part of home health. AOTA’s Federal Affairs Team is working to improve this situation. AOTA’s efforts on the PDGM bill have been fruitful. In addition to these changes, AOTA is also working with home health agencies to recognize their occupational therapy qualifications.
Therapists help prevent falls
Home health PTs and OTs often help elderly clients with fall prevention. Occupational therapists can help patients reduce pain medication and reduce opioid use. They can help improve home safety by removing hazards and recommending equipment and training users to reduce risk of falling. An OT can help clients develop a greater sense of self and decrease fears of falling. They can also provide additional information to help the client become more independent.
The role of occupational therapists in home health is to help their clients learn essential skills and perform daily activities. Because falls are one of the leading causes of injury among the elderly, occupational therapists are required to educate themselves on fall prevention. They should teach residents to reduce the risk of falling by modifying their environment and making changes as needed. This will help individuals feel more confident with their daily activities and avoid self-limiting behaviors.
Home safety evaluations are another key role of occupational therapists in home health. They evaluate a patient’s home and recommend equipment that will enhance independence while reducing the risk of falls. Home modifications may include removing throw rugs, installing grab bars, or rearranging walkways throughout the home. Occupational therapists may also recommend elevating sitting surfaces and removing cords.
The risks of falls are complex and can stem from the environment, activity, and health conditions of older adults. Aged adults typically lack the physical stability to keep themselves upright. Women are at a greater risk than men. Individuals with chronic health conditions, recent hospitalization, and history of falls are at higher risk. A fall can also be a result of sedentary lifestyles, a weakened immune system, or other health conditions.