What does an Occupational Therapist do?

We are health care professionals who help people across the lifespan participate in the things in life that matter most, such as performing daily tasks or performing leisurely activities.

We help patients with the skills needed to overcome barriers or limitations to achieve these tasks and aim to reach an optimal level of functioning. We are a client-driven profession, meaning we work with you on the areas that are most meaningful to you and work together to achieve your goals.

What does this mean for you?

Since Kyle is clinically trained, he can assess your abilities. As part of an assessment, he can identify issues or obstacles that may be difficult for you to perform at home. He will work with you to provide solutions or recommendations to maximize your well-being, which can dramatically improve your quality of life at home.

Key Terms you should know.

Universal Design- The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Adaptable- A design measure that addresses problems of individual differences and changes in capability over time.

Accessibility- Refers to how a person can safely and conveniently navigate and interact within their environment for functional use to the greatest extent possible.

Activities of Daily Living- (ADLs): Tasks that include self-care, functional mobility, sleep, and rest.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living- (IADLs): Activities that relate to independent living, such as household tasks, playing cards, meal preparation, grocery shopping, driving, etc.

Certified Aging in Place Specialist- (CAPS): A certification developed from the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP, who are specialists that recommend solutions to help a person live independently in his/her own home and collaborates with building professionals to achieve barrier-free home modifications.

Aging in place- A term referred to a senior who makes a conscious decision to remain in their environment for as long as possible, often adding supplemental changes to their living condition to maintain their function and quality of life as they age.

Home Modification- Any change made to a home environment aimed at improving safety, independence, accessibility, mobility, and function. Some modifications are simple as replacing door knobs to door levers or as extensive as a bathroom renovation. It’s strongly recommended to have a home assessment to determine your current and future needs room by room.

Fall Prevention- Any variety of actions taken to reduce the potential for falls. Occupational therapists are experts in fall prevention and can assist you or a loved one with fall prevention strategies.

Visitable- Refers to a minimum level of accessibility that will allow a person using a wheelchair essential access to the ground floor of a home.
Home safety recommendations: Any recommendation made by an occupational therapist/certified aging in place specialist during a home assessment aimed at optimizing a person’s safety, function, independence, or quality of life.

ADA – American Disability Act: A civil rights law passed in 1990 ensuring people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into 5 sections, which include public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. Within the public accommodation sector, this title requires public accommodations with minimum standards for accessibility, removal of barriers without much expense, and directs businesses to provide reasonable accommodations.

Durable medical equipment (DME) – Medically prescribed medical equipment that meets the following criteria: durable (must withstand repeated use), used for a medical reason, not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick of injured, used in your home, and has an expected lifetime of at least 3 years. Important note: Medicare will only cover your DME is your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare. Some examples of DME include: Commode, walkers, wheelchairs, patient lifts, hospital beds, etc. (DME section take from medicare.gov)

The information below is from the National Association of Home Builders CAPS course content on building standards:

ANSI A117.1 – The American National Standards Institute- facilitates making buildings, providing accessibility by those physically disabled, focusing on minimum design requirements, serves as a valuable industry standard and guideline for non-regulated residential construction.

ADAAG – American Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines- A legislation to provide civil rights protections to persons with disabilities, which covers both public and private (public accommodation and commercial facilities) sectors, as well as some residential projects to promote public accessibility.

UFAS – Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards- are applied during the design, construction, and alteration of buildings/facilities to the extent required by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, states all buildings, except for private residences, must be physically accessible, including public housing.

FAHG – The Federal Housing Accessibility Guidelines- are non-mandatory guidelines intended to assist state and local agencies with proper implementation of requirements of the Fair Housing Act, which is based upon seven design requirements.