What You Can Expect From Your Occupational Therapist

Posted on: 31 October 2022


If you have been hospitalized and discharged with home health services, you may receive many services over the next few weeks or months. A physical therapist (PT) may offer some assistance to help you regain your mobility and improve your overall health. An occupational therapist (OT) offers other aid. Many people confuse the therapies provided by PT and OT since they are both focused on improving your health. But their specialties are very different. Here are a few things your occupational therapist can do for you.

Environmental Assessments

One of the first things your OT will do in your home is to assess your home for safety. They look for potential problems in your environment and offer suggestions on how to correct these. The OT may also interview your family about any potential areas of concern they have.

Activities of Daily Living

While PT focuses on improving your ability to move, OT focuses more on enhancing your abilities to exist in your environment and perform your activities of daily living. Activities of daily living or ADLs are the self-care tasks your parents teach you as a child. ADLs include:

  • Ambulating
  • Feeding Yourself
  • Bathing/Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Transferring

Your OT performs initial assessments in all of these areas, often before the hospital discharges you, to determine how much help you need in these areas. Their assessment often determines whether you are ready for discharge. The evaluation also helps determine what level of home care insurance pays for once you arrive home.

In your home, OT works with you to improve your skills as needed in all of these areas. They may provide hands-on services and adaptive equipment or make suggestions to ensure your safety.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

In addition to your ADLs, your OT will work with you on your Instrumental Activities of Daily Living or IADLs. These are higher skills you learned as a teenager. These skills require a higher level of cognitive skill, including organization. 

Your IADLs include the following:

  • Shopping 
  • Cooking
  • Housekeeping
  • Managing Finances
  • Arranging Transportation
  • Obtaining and Taking Medications

IADLs include the skills you need to live independently or with limited assistance. Unfortunately, physical and mental health hurdles can make some of these things difficult as you age. 

When OT identifies areas where you may experience functional difficulties, they identify resources to help and support you in these areas. Some of these supports may be teaching you organizational or reminder techniques, while other supports may be the intervention of other people.

Reach out to a company like Moonlight Home Health Care to learn more.