Occupational Therapy focuses on helping people do the activities of daily living that have become difficult or impossible to do because of age-related changes, disorders or disability.
The Occupational Therapist (OT) may start by assessing your activities of daily living, physical and cognitive abilities. If any difficulties are identified, your OT will put together a treatment programme for your needs. The OT works with other staff to help you reach your potential.
Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living include eating, dressing, bathing, grooming, toileting, and transferring (e.g. moving between surfaces such as the bed, chair, and bath or shower). Depending on the type of stroke you have you may need to learn new ways to dress or may need assistance when dressing.
The Occupational Therapist may offer advice and training to enable you to be more independent. There are equipment and aids that the Occupational Therapist might recommend to help you. However you may require assistance from family members or a home help. The level of help required may be low or high depending on how the stroke has affected you. Going home after having a stroke is a big change and even if you feel you will manage, having help, even if just initially, is a good idea.
Adapting my Home
Before you leave hospital, the Occupational Therapist may carry out a ‘home visit’ to assess your ability to manage at home. The Occupational Therapist may suggest alternative ways of doing things or make recommendations for equipment or adaptations that may maintain or improve your independence at home.
Examples of adaptations include:
- Ramping steps at front door to allow for easier access to the home.
- Removing mats and rugs to reduce risk of falls.
- Rearranging furniture to allow for easier and safer access.
- Bringing a bed downstairs when it unsafe for the person to climb the stairs.
- Installation of raised toilet seats, swivel bather, shower stools etc.
- Extending house to include a downstairs toilet and shower.
- Removing bath or shower and installing a level access shower.
An Occupational Therapist or Public Health Nurse may recommend equipment that will increase your independence and safety. Medical card holders will be provided with this equipment on loan. There may be a delay in obtaining this equipment.
Driving and Transport
Driving is not always a safe activity for people after a stroke. Physical difficulties and visual processing difficulties as a result of a stroke can prevent somebody from ever returning to driving. You need to inform your insurance company of your medical history.
The Irish Wheelchair Association provides a driving assessment and tuition service for drivers with disabilities. Please contact the National Mobility Centre on 045 893 094/5
The Irish Wheelchair Association
Clane, Co. Kildare.
Contact 045 893094/5 for further details
Your GP will be required to complete a small section of the application form.