The occupational therapist assesses the client’s home environment to identify potential safety issues. 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 are trained to recommend and implement strategies in every room in the home, as well as outdoors in their yard. These strategies can help clients complete daily tasks effectively and efficiently, no matter the degree of their ability. The home accessibility assessment involves determining an individual’s ability to safely and independently access their 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 floors/hallways clutter and rearranging furniture. Or, changes can be more complex, such as 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.