What is the Role of an OT in the Home Modification Process?

OTs teach people HOW to live with injury, illness or disability. OTs are “activity experts” trained to analyze the activities people need to perform every day. OTs adapt these activities or the environment in which they are performed. A home modification OT assesses the accessibility and environmental safety of a home and provides individually tailored solutions that foster independence, promote health and prevent injury. For example, an OT can help someone who is having difficulty showering due to weakness or poor balance by assessing the bathroom and shower area, observing how the person gets into and out of the shower and providing solutions to the problem. The OT may recommend special equipment called durable medical equipment such as a grab bar or shower seat to make showering easier and safer.

What does a home safety assessment involve?

A home safety assessment consists of a simple interview with you (and anyone else you choose to include) and a walk through of your home. The OT will gather information about you and how you are currently functioning in your home. The OT will ask you to provide information about your current health status, anticipated future health needs, your typical daily routine, the leisure activities you enjoy doing and what obstacles prevent the full use and enjoyment of your home. The OT will also request information about others who reside in or visit your home. Once this background information is obtained, you together with the OT will walk through your home. The OT will ask many questions and take note of lighting, floor surfaces, furniture placement, location of fixtures (sinks, toilets etc) and other relevant items. The OT will ask you to identify specific obstacles you encounter.  The OT will take notes, measurements and photos in order to devise customized solutions that address your home accessibility needs. The OT will submit a detailed proposal with a range of solutions for you to consider. Some solutions may be simple and inexpensive such as a shower seat. Others may be more complex and expensive such as an exterior ramp.

How many OT visits are required?

The number of visits depends on the complexity of the work to be done. It is important that the OT be involved in the initial assessment of the home modification process. Some home modification solutions can be addressed in one visit. If more complex solutions are required the OT may visit during construction and again upon completion of the project to verify that installations meet your specific functional needs.

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