One of the most common referrals our Occupational Therapy service receives is to assess clients who are having difficulty completing everyday activities in their home environment. After an injury or commonly as our client’s age, some of the simplest tasks can become more challenging. Getting up and down a flight of stairs easily becomes a struggle or getting in and out of the shower starts to be a worry.
OT’s are skilled in identifying how a person’s environment impacts their ability to complete a task. Take for example getting in and out of the shower. A client may be observed to be un-steady and at risk of falls when stepping in and out of the shower. They may be observed to be holding onto the taps or the glass shower screen to help with their balance. OT’s help client’s to identify that their technique is un-safe and suggest possible changes. A simple grab rail grab positioned in the shower for the client to use when stepping in can be an easy solution and safer option than holding onto taps or shower screens. Removal of the shower screen and installation of a shower curtain allows for easier access to the shower recess. Removal or reduction of a large shower hob can make stepping in and out of the shower easier and safer.
When recommending home modification, OT’s are best at assessing the client and developing a solution that best meets the client’s functional needs. Often, the OT will then work with a Handyman or tradesperson who can provide expert advice on how the OT’s recommendations can be implemented in line with safe building practices. This ensures that the client’s functional needs are met as well as having modifications completed in a safe and sustainable manner.
Here are some examples of the home modifications our OT’s have recommended to enable clients to remain living safely in their home environment:
Before: These very steep steps at the back door to this client’s home were impossible to negotiate with a four wheeled walker.
After: A large landing and platform steps have enabled the client to access the back yard area safely using their four wheeled walker.
There are various funding sources available for home modifications depending on your circumstances. Please contact the office for further information, ph: (02) 8001 6195