The occupational therapist conducts an assessment of the home environment with the purpose of identifying potential safety issues for the client. The occupational therapist will make recommendations for equipment, assistive devices, assistance or environmental modifications, which are implemented in order to increase an individual’s safety in his home. This assessment can take place immediately following an injury, or at any time as functional changes occur.
As people go about completing everyday tasks in their homes, it is important that the environment be appropriate and allow for the greatest degree of independence. When the environment doesn’t “fit” the individual living or working in it, modifications can be made to facilitate independence. Changes also can be made for older adults and people with disabilities to accommodate future changes in health. A home modified for greater accessibility promotes energy conservation and helps prevent falls.
Our occupational therapists have expertise and training in recommending and implementing strategies in every room in the home, as well as outdoors in their yard, that could help a person complete daily tasks effectively and efficiently no matter the degree of his or her ability. The home accessibility assessment involves determining an individual’s ability to safely and independently access his/her environment. The occupational therapist will review the individual’s impairments (e.g.: mobility, visual acuity, cognition) and will make recommendations to promote independence and safety. These changes can be simple such as reducing clutter on floors or in hallways, rearranging furniture or items in a kitchen, or more complex when full room modifications (i.e. bathrooms) are required.
When larger accessibility renovation or accessibility projects are required, the occupational therapist assists by collaborating with the accessibility design specialists and/or contractors throughout the planning stages, ensuring that the physical needs of the individual are met in the design.