The occupational therapy home evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of the client’s, caregiver’s and family’s:
- Needs, goals, lifestyle.
- Level of function.
- How the home supports or limits function and lifestyle.
The occupational therapist’s greatest contribution is the perspective of the specific user. They understand the abilities and limitations of an individual and can inform the architect, designer, and the general contractor about the unique needs of the individual and help them think holistically. As a trained architect, I know most of the design world focuses on generic standards for accessibility. –Adam Griff Architect
The occupational therapist identifies present and future barriers to safety and independence in the home based on specific client needs and diagnosis. After evaluating the client, the caregiver’s needs and the home, the occupational therapist makes home modification, adaptive equipment and fixture/material recommendations to improve lifestyle independence, safety, ease of care and home accessibility.
Occupational therapy is a research-based profession. Occupational therapists are trained to reduce falls and injuries and to increase function based on individual needs not general ADA recommendations.
Occupational therapy home evaluations can include short-term recommendations for current needs and function or based on a short term disability or injury or long term recommendations based on long term needs and prognosis.
Goals of OT home evaluations
- Increase ease of caring for someone with a disability.
- Increase safety and decrease chance of injury in the home.
- Increase independent function regardless of cognitive or physical limitations.
- Increase lifestyle independence based on specific lifestyle choices, hobbies and client preferences.
- Decrease demands on caregivers.
- Create a plan for short-term or long-term home safety and accessibility.
Builders build, designers design and occupational therapists modify environments and activities to increase function, safety and independence. If you are modifying your home for aging in place an OT is a good idea to make the home fit your needs.
If you are modifying or building a home for a specific disability or disease an OT is essential to ensure the modifications are exactly what is needed and to prevent spending money on reconstruction that doesn’t work.
ADA vs OT recommendations for accessible design
ADA is a list of guidelines developed by the federal government for commercial buildings to allow people of all abilities access.
OT recommendations for accessible design is based specifically on client needs so the environment is tailored specifically to the accentuate individual’s strengths and decrease limitiations for increased satisfaction, mobility and independence .