By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
Occupational therapy ranks among the most common home health services for seniors over 65 years of age and is widely available for qualified patients in the comfort of their own home.
There’s never been a better time to consider shifting these essential treatments from sometimes crowded clinics into a space where patients can thrive: at home.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is different from physical therapy. Physical therapy aims at regaining strength or mobility, and often deals with injury recovery.
By contrast, occupational therapy focuses on the ability to complete everyday tasks, known as activities of daily living, due to aging or other non-injury related reasons. Studies reveal that elderly patients who are considered “well” also benefit from this type of therapy.
One of the broadest studies done showed that seniors who participated in regular occupational therapy saw a 14% advantage over those who did no occupational therapy. The advantages seen by the group that engaged in OT included better physical and mental health, greater vitality, higher quality social interactions, greater life satisfaction, fewer role limitations, and less bodily pain.
The Goals of Occupational Therapy
This kind of therapy also can involve loved ones, who can assist in the therapy sessions or continue the therapy at home with the patient. Some of the most common occupational therapy goals include home exercise programs, patient education, home safety, pain assessment and management, upper-extremity strength and range of motion, re-education of daily living tasks, restoring muscle control, basic skills evaluation, sensory functions restoration, mobility enhancement, fine motor coordination, instruction on use of adaptive devices, and special circumstances specific to each patient.
Who Qualifies for Occupational Therapy at Home?
Qualifying for occupational therapy in your home has certain requirements. The most significant criteria include:
- Individuals must be under the care of a doctor.
- A physician-approved plan of care must be in place.
- Medical care needs must be less than around-the-clock, 24-hour care.
- In addition to other detailed requirements for Medicare eligibility, you must also be a citizen of the United States or have been a legal resident for at least five years.
In California, all home health service providers must be certified either through a state licensing agency or through Medicare.
Paying for In-Home Occupational Therapy Services
There are many ways to pay for occupational therapy and other home health services, including Medi-Cal, Medicare, long-term care insurance, private health insurance, VA benefits, private pay (out of pocket) or a combination of any of the above.
The Benefits of Choosing In-Home Occupational Therapy
Just as exercise and healthy diets can help improve an individual’s overall health and longevity, daily activities or routines can also contribute to a healthy long life. Exercises, such as walking through an air-conditioned mall just to see the sights or playing cards with friends, can help maintain physical and mental acuity.
Occupational therapy in the home can help with a wide range of health concerns, including these benefits:
- Overcoming fears of physical activities, such as walking longer distances or even using public transportation, by creating a plan of therapy that not only focuses on the physical, but also the emotional and mental challenges facing each patient.
- Proactively warding off the effects of aging or degenerative diseases.
- Reducing the effects of disability and reducing medical needs and costs.
- Convenient for those who already have limited motion.
- Reducing environmental stressors that occur when traveling to a location for therapy.
But one of the biggest advantages of in-home occupational therapy is personalized care. In-home occupational therapists usually have fewer patients—to allow for the travel time between locations—and this means you’ll benefit from a focused and personalized experience from your therapist.
If you or a senior loved one needs occupational therapy, it’s time to consider receiving these important treatments from qualified, licensed and trained occupational therapists in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare and home health agency offering services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses (RN and LVN) and more. Background checks are required for all staff to give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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