Occupational Therapy: An Independence-booster for Home Health Care Patients

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Occupational therapist works with senior woman on hand strength
Published:  April 28, 2023

Getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, and making breakfast seem like simple tasks to start the day. But when you think of all the skills a person needs to complete those tasks—physical strength, precise movements, and clear thinking—you can see why it’s not always so easy.

When you or someone you love has an injury, illness, or disability, or is aging in their home, everyday activities can become much harder. Occupational therapy can offer training on these skills to boost a person’s independence and quality of life.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy helps home health care patients learn or relearn how to do their usual daily tasks. Every patient faces a distinct set of challenges during their day. Their therapist aids them in overcoming these obstacles in a caring and helpful way.

It’s different than physical therapy, which helps people get physically stronger and move more easily. Occupational therapists work to strengthen both physical and mental skills and may focus on specific, everyday tasks such as:

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Getting dressed
  • Making meals
  • Tidying up

Developing the skills for these activities can allow home healthcare patients to get through their days with more ease and confidence.

How does it work?

The process starts with the occupational therapist visiting the home for an evaluation to review a patient’s medical history, check their current skills and abilities, and talk about goals for the future.

Then the therapist will set up regular one-on-one sessions, with activities designed to address the patient’s needs and goals. They may also include stretching and strengthening exercises, or training to improve posture, balance, and coordination.

A strong team includes the occupational therapist working together with their patient’s other care team members, such as their home health aide or skilled nurse to make sure all a patient’s needs are being met.

What are the benefits?

The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients function at the highest level they can. While that looks different for everyone, it can include:

  • Checking to ensure the home is easy to move around in.
  • Helping patients communicate well so their day runs smoothly.
  • Improving their physical strength and coordination.
  • Modifying daily tasks to make them safer and easier.
  • Providing emotional support and coping strategies for everyday stresses.

Therapists may also find new ways for their patients to take part in fun or social activities, or other meaningful interests. Throughout the process, they will also offer support to caregivers and family members.

Choosing an occupational therapist

The impact of occupational therapy lasts beyond just the time of treatment—it can make a world of difference in a person’s life. It can lead to them becoming more independent and healthier overall.

It’s important to look for an occupational therapist who will create a personalized plan for you or your loved one’s needs and goals. Click the button below to request care and learn more about how Traditions Health occupational therapists can help you.

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