42% of seniors or over 5 million adults in the U. S. don’t have the simple adaptive equipment needed to support their independence and safety at home. And these are adults who have been identified as at-risk by their healthcare provider.
I know there are many reasons for this break in critical services – the equipment costs too much, insurance won’t cover the item, patients are resistant, doctors don’t refer to OT, etc. We apparently have over 5 million reasons that at-risk seniors don’t have access to simple, low cost and low-tech solutions to keep them safe and in their communities and homes.
Because of COVID, many families have reevaluated the placement of family members outside the home. As caregivers make these decisions, OTs need to be in those homes and making recommendations. I know our work takes place in a variety of settings and across a spectrum of needs and fiscal constraints, but I still believe that the home is the most valuable place for OTs.
It is in the home that we can see and evaluate the barriers faced by our patients. For my fellow home health care OTs, how many things have you discovered just by being in someone’s home? The toilet that was unusually low, the doorway that was not wide enough, the door that wouldn’t open, the stairwell without any lights, the food placed on shelves too high to reach, or an outside area inaccessible because of a single step?
Get OT in the homes of the 5,000,000 underserved and give these older adults the benefit of a clinical evaluation of their condition, assessment of barriers and an array of solutions. Bring the creative mind of an occupational therapist into the homes where our patients want to stay.