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How Does Occupational Therapy Work at Home?

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Occupational therapy done at home
By AtHome Healthcare Team

A tragic event, accident, or birth deformity can leave a person bedridden and unable to perform daily tasks. Not only is the ‘person’s challenge physical, but they also struggle significantly mentally with keeping their spirit and willpower high.

When a ‘person’s daily activities get hindered constantly because of their disabilities or illness, chances of recovery are lowered.

The ‘patient’s needs must never be ignored, and the best possible treatment must be provided. Treatment is most effective when a ‘person’s mind and body feel safe and at peace. Such a mindset is easier to achieve in an at-home treatment setting, where familiar faces and objects surround the patient. This familiarity helps the patient feel more comfortable. Hence, proper treatment provided in a homely atmosphere can wonder for a patient.

When a patient needs an occupational therapist, they usually have two choices. Either they can visit a medical facility that provides occupational therapy sessions or opt for at-home occupational therapy.

Occupational therapy is an excellent form of treatment that helps patients get back to their daily routines and activities. It involves medication, exercise, and education regarding recovering and living a healthier life.

Since occupational therapy requires multiple visits and sometimes even 24/7 assistance, it is most convenient at the ‘patient’s home. The home visits help the patient feel safer and more comfortable and allow the patient’s family to get involved. Educating the ‘patient’s family means that the patient can be looked after even when the occupational therapist is not visiting.

How Does At-home Occupational Therapy Work?

Before looking at how at-home occupational therapy works, let us first shed light on occupational therapy and what occupational therapists do.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a treatment that requires a licensed ‘therapist’s intervention to help a patient recover from illness, disease, or disability. The treatment aims to help patients regain control over their normal daily activities, such as school work, cooking, office tasks, etc.

Occupational therapy helps a patient restore proper movement and readjust to their old living style or figure out alternative ways of performing the daily tasks. The goal is to help patients settle back into their everyday lives and occupations. Some patients need an occupational ‘therapist’s help once or twice a week, while some need it every day. Daily occupational therapy needs usually revolve around dressing, bathing, doing office or schoolwork, and moving.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) requires specific qualifications to obtain an occupational therapy license. A student needs to complete a ‘bachelor’s and a ‘master’s degree in occupational therapy to become a certified therapist. All American states require the student to pass a national exam conducted by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

Some programs also require additional occupational therapy volunteer work to obtain an official license. Usually, the entire academic program takes 3-5 years to complete.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Licensed occupational therapists can work at a medical facility such as a hospital, clinic, or skilled nursing facility. They can also start their private practice and set up clinics after obtaining the required licenses. Occupational therapists also can make house visits and treat the patients at their homes.

Occupational therapists can work with people of all ages. They first come and assess how you live and your daily activities. Then they devise a treatment and activity plan to either help you regain standard control over your everyday occupations or teach you ways of completing your tasks differently.

At-home Occupational Therapy

When a patient is medically home-bound, or when the frequency of the occupational therapy sessions is high, the doctor advises at-home occupational therapy.

At-home occupational therapy involves the therapist visiting the ‘patient’s residence. The occupational therapist can make the required analysis and devise a plan according to the ‘patient’s surroundings and tasks. The occupational therapist can also help rearrange ‘ ‘those surroundings to make a recovery and daily tasks easier.  

The goal of having occupational therapy at home is to help the patients regain independence while providing them a safe and nurturing, homely environment to recover and recuperate.

How is Occupational Therapy different from Physiotherapy?

As the name suggests, a physiotherapist’s role involves treating a patient’s physical disability or injury. A physiotherapist’s training and education cover more anatomical subjects such as the nervous system, skeletal systems, and wound repair.

Although an occupational therapist’s primary education is the same as a physiotherapist’s, the training and roles are different.

An occupational therapist’s training centers around assessing and improving a patient’s ability to perform their daily tasks and responsibilities.

A physiotherapist would be consulted when a patient needs an exercise routine for pain relief and physical recovery. Whereas an occupational therapist is involved when the patient is no longer physically injured or in pain but is trying to regain control and independence over their regular routine.

For example, a person recovering from a broken leg might need a physiotherapist’s help to relieve the pain and allow proper bone healing. The physiotherapist will use specific exercises to regulate blood flow to the portion to improve recovery and ensure the bone heals properly. On the other hand, an occupational therapist will be involved when the patient’s bone has healed, and the pain is gone, but they still can’t use the leg fully. Here, the occupational therapist would work towards helping the patient regain control of the leg and move as generally as possible to complete daily activities.

Occupational therapists also provide rehabilitative assistance when the patient has vision loss, memory loss, or mental instability.

In summary, physiotherapy aims to improve a sick or injured ‘person’s health and aid movement. Whereas an occupational therapist’ seeks to help the patient perform their daily tasks.

What Are the Benefits of At-home Occupational Therapy?

A person can truly heal and recover when they feel safe and at peace. Recovery happens faster when familiar faces, settings, and routines surround a patient. The patient’s willpower to get back to health is improved. The family’s presence and involvement help the patient’s mental health.

At-home occupational therapy allows patients to regain independence and control of their everyday routines. It helps them better maneuver around their rooms, take a bath, dress, eat, and complete their occupational tasks as generally as possible.

Receiving occupational therapy treatment at home has many benefits, including the following:

Improved Mobility

First and foremost, at-home occupational therapy helps patients perform their daily tasks more efficiently and reduce stress. They can dress up, bathe, eat, cook, workout out, and fulfill all other occupational responsibilities.

Furthermore, when a patient can control their movement better, the chances of them losing control, falling, and getting injured are reduced. As a result, they remain safe and healthy.

Homely Comfort

Since the treatment is being performed at the patient’s home instead of a medical facility, they’ll have access to the comfort of their bed, bathroom, and other facilities. Sleeping in a familiar bed and waking up to familiar faces makes a patient feel safe and positive.

Recovering around the family can be more manageable. Not only does the patient feel loved and supported, but the family also feels at peace by being helpful and included.

Family Involvement

Since the at-home occupational therapist teaches a patient how to adapt to everyday life, the family can also get educated. The family, as a result, can aid the patient when the therapist is not available or when the therapy is discontinued.

This knowledge provides comfort and peace to both the patient and the family members as they feel better equipped for challenging situations.

Improved Quality of Life

Being able to perform daily activities in a usual way helps improve and maintain the quality of life. Having control over mobility also boosts the patient’s self-esteem.

When patients can move and work as normal societal individuals, they can interact with other people better. Patients unable to do so feel embarrassed and try to avoid social interactions. This interaction helps them improve communication and live a healthy, happier life;

Aids Recovery

When a patient suffers from memory or vision loss, occupational therapy can only be fruitful at home. Treatment and exercise would help the patient work around these imparities and live a healthy life when done at home.

Moreover, memory often seems to improve and even comes back when a person lives amongst familiar people and things.

Convenient Certified Help

The patient can benefit from the same hospital-level treatment provided by licensed therapists while remaining within the comforts of their home.

Many patients need occupational therapy multiple times a week, and sometimes even daily. Hence, going to a medical facility can become very inconvenient. In such cases, at-home occupational therapy treatment is the best possible choice.

Trust Between the Occupational Therapist and Patient

At-home occupational therapy allows the patient to form a more personalized one-on-one relationship with the therapist. This interaction develops trust understanding and enables the patient to follow the therapist’s advice more efficiently.

Open communication also allows the occupational therapist to better assess a person’s situation and provide the best treatment accordingly.


Since the patient no longer has to pay for the occupational therapist’s traveling costs, this form of the treatment proves to be very cost-efficient. A study claimed that receiving health care treatment at home is almost 40% more cost-effective than receiving the same treatment at a medical facility.

Covered by Medicare

Medicare part B covers at-home occupational therapy expenses.

How Can You Practice Occupational Therapy At-home?

Some people are born with physical deformities or imparities. Such people need excessive and sometimes lifelong occupational therapy at home to live a healthy life. Moreover, some people get injuries that do not fully recover, such as losing a limb.

In such a situation, occupational therapy is no longer an option. It becomes a ‘patient’s way of life. Paying for years of occupational therapy can become very costly. Moreover, Medicare also covers for a limited time of at-home occupational therapy costs.

The good thing is that you can practice occupational therapy at home in many ways. Some of such methods are mentioned below:

  • Practice cooking at home. Cooking for yourself and your family can be a rewarding and therapeutic activity. The simple tasks of chopping vegetables, stirring a pot, or massaging dough can help you train the motor skills of your hands.
  • Spend some time painting. Painting helps a person destress and relax while allowing sufficient hand exercise and movement. Something as delicate and intricate as painting enables you to better control your movements.
  • Play a safe sport. Sports like tossing a ball through a hoop or kicking a ball would help you gain physical strength and help you train your ‘body’s muscles. With time and practice, you would control your body better.
  • Perform exercises on an obstacle course. It could involve a bit of running use of the wrists and would help improve your body coordination.

The tip here is to ensure you practice these at-home self-occupational therapies in a safe environment, ideally in the presence of a family member.

Can Occupational therapy Help Adults with ADHD?

Suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect your school work, office work, and daily relationships significantly.

Occupational therapy is excellent for adults who have ADHD. Since occupational therapists start by performing a detailed assessment, they can understand the underlying causes of ADHD more clearly. This understanding allows them to formulate better custom treatment plans that fit patients’ specific needs and situations.

It can help ADHD patients better manage their time, improve organizational skills, and use their excessive energy more effectively.

As a result, ADHD patients can better perform their daily tasks with more focus and form social relationships.

Final Thoughts

Being treated within the security of your home can be comforting and practical. With at-home occupational therapy, you can regain your bodily independence and genuinely feel liberated. You can get your confidence back and form more trusting relationships with your family, all while saving on extra costs.

For further information and guidance regarding different home health services, contact AtHome Healthcare Team.

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