Who do you see?

Adults living in a residential aged care facility. Usually residents are aged 65 and above and may be living with medical conditions that commonly effect the elderly.

What do you do?

Complete an initial assessment with the residents to determine their cognitive and physical functioning, as well as gather information about their past life, social situation and enjoyed leisure activities. Treatment is focussed on assisting the residents to compensate for or adapt to impairments they must enable the greatest amount of independence and safety. An occupational therapist will ensure the resident has the equipment they require to support independence and safety. The occupational therapist typically creates a monthly activity program and will assist the resident to identify activity groups that they would like to engage in. Assessments are routinely repeated to monitor and identify any deterioration in residents’ cognitive and physical functioning. The occupational therapist may also provide support to staff members to manage residents who are confused or distressed.

Where do you do it?

  • In residential aged care facilities.

Case example:

An elderly 79-year-old lady, Grace, has moved into a residential aged care facility after being unable to cope living at home alone and having recurrent falls. The occupational therapist receives handover from the occupational therapist at the hospital Grace was transferred from and was given an update of Grace’s current level of functioning. An initial assessment is completed with Grace upon her arrival and the occupational therapist identifies that she requires a shower chair and bedside rail, has moderate memory impairment and enjoys shopping, playing the piano and craft. The occupational therapist ensures Grace’s room is set up with a shower chair and bedside rail, and handed this information regarding her level of functioning in self-care over to the care staff. The occupational therapist assists Grace in selecting activities from the monthly program. Grace is encouraged to share her musical talent by playing the piano for the other residents three afternoons a week, which creates a sense of purpose and self-worth. The occupational therapist assists Grace to use external aids such as a calendar and alarm clock to ensure Grace remembers new appointments and when to attend the groups. The occupational therapist completes routine assessments and identified that Grace had a further deterioration in memory and was not attending many groups, hence the occupational therapist liaises with the care staff and therapy assistants to ensure Grace was collected for each group that she wanted to attend.

How can I find out more?

Please contact the WA Occupational Therapy Association if you would like further information – info@waota.com.au