This is a question I get on a near daily basis from my clients. In fact, it’s often a question I get from my family and friends as well. The majority of people picture an occupational therapist in scrubs, working at a skilled nursing facility, hospital, or outpatient rehab center. Children, and parents of children with developmental delay or disability may picture the fun therapist they worked with in the sensory gym. These different pictures of occupational therapy are exactly what makes our profession so great…We are all occupational therapists.
The American Occupational Therapy Association’s Vision 2025 states, “As an inclusive profession, occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living.”
Through our Free Home Safety Assessment and the subsequent installation of home modifications, the therapists at Oakley Home Access are doing just that. We carefully assess and design modifications targeted to the specific clients functional needs, capabilities, and barriers to success. Let’s break Down the Vision 2025 Statement a little more…The elements of the Vision 2025 statement that resonate the most with me are “quality of life”, and “participation in everyday living”.
Our conservative modifications in a client’s bathroom such as grab bars, raised toilets, and tub cuts allow clients to engage in a hot shower after months of sponge bathing on the edge of their bed. Additionally, they allow a client the privacy and dignity to use their toilet, versus a commode in their living room.
A stairlift allows one client to sleep in their bedroom upstairs after years of sleeping in their recliner, and allows another client to re-engage in their role as a homemaker by granting them access to laundry in the basement.
Ramping or a Vertical Platform Lift allows a client to continue driving by giving them access to their garage. Another client is now able to safely get to dialysis 3x per week. Portable ramping systems allow a grandparent to visit their children’s home and spend quality time with their beloved grandchildren. Tasks like getting the mail, watering the flowers, and walking around the block are once again feasible for our clients.
Home modifications for aging in place, fall prevention, and accessibility are directly related to quality of life, participation in everyday living, and health/well-being. That is exactly why we utilize occupational therapists… As an occupational therapist, I could not be prouder of the work I do each and every day in this specialized field. Our work provides clients improved independence and safety in a matter of hours which will benefit their lives in perpetuity.
Explaining my line of work is something that I have grown to enjoy. I enjoy educating on how we are one piece of this healthcare puzzle. After sustaining an injury, a patient can often encounter acute ICU therapists, transition to acute rehab or skilled nursing therapists, then to home care therapists, and finally to outpatient therapy. At any point in that continuum, the therapy team at Oakley Home Access would be honored to provide our Free Home Safety Assessment, and simply educate the patient on all of their options for home modifications that can assist them in being safer and more independent at home.
Happy Occupational Therapy Month to our fellow colleagues and cohorts in all specialties. You are an instrumental and essential health care worker who embodies the core values and vision of occupational therapy each and every day. We may all graduate with the same degree, but its where you take that degree that makes you so valuable to our patients. I’m proud to be an occupational therapist, and I’m proud of the work I do as a home modification specialist!
Alex DeNoncour, MS OTR/L, CAPS, ECHMP, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Executive Certificate in Home Modification