Occupational therapists play a vital role in discharge planning in hospitals and nursing homes. They advise doctors, social workers and families in determining residents' functional status and level of independence to faciliate their return to home or to their prior level of living.
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Occupational therapists treat residents to increase their independence in activities of daily living, or ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning and doing yardwork. Occupational therapists' input is necessary for discharge planning because they can determine patients' ability to perform ADLs and what modifications or assistance they may need to return home.
Occupational therapists often complete home evaluations to ascertain what specific modifications or adaptive equipment clients will need in the home. They recommend changes in the layout of furniture and addition of equipment such as tub seats, bedside commodes or wheelchairs.
Families often require support and training before the discharge of their loved one. The occupational therapist trains families in bathing and dressing techniques, as well as strategies for adaptive equipment use and transfers.
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