Occupational Therapists help their clients to optimize their home environment considering their individual abilities and to promote full participation in daily life activities safely.
As the proportion of older people (aged 65 and over) in the Australian population is increasing, home modification is a key factor in enabling individuals to age in their own homes for as long as possible. Home modification will also benefit other clients with health issues, movement disorders, or cognitive decline. Home modification can be changes in the key areas of clients’ homes to increase usage, safety and independence.
Occupational Therapists can evaluate each client’s individual needs and observe their performance of daily activities in their home environment. Occupational Therapists also evaluate clients’ home environment and help clients to identify barriers to their performance and safety during activities. Occupational Therapists review these barriers and concerns with clients and then discuss solutions and strategies to facilitate clients’ safety and independence at home. Some aspects of home environment can be modified or adapted to facilitate this process. For example, a grabrail can be installed in the shower recess or next to the toilet for clients with difficulty balancing themselves during their personal care tasks and functional transfers, a handrail along the external or internal stairs for clients with difficulty during functional mobility, and accessible ramp can be installed for clients using wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility. The goal of home modification is to maximize the fit between clients’ functional capacity, their performance of the daily activities and their physical environment at home, in order to the facilitate clients’ safety and independence at their own home.
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