Occupational Therapists in Nursing Homes – Part II
In addition to all the important roles Occupational Therapists provide in long term care facilities like nursing homes, retirement centers or senior homes that were discussed in blog post part one, an Occupational Therapist also is a crucial educational tool for long term care facilities. This post will explore how this is done effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.
Staff Education and Training
In nursing homes, retirement centers or senior homes, Occupational Therapists provide information about client handling techniques. What does this mean exactly? The Occupational Therapist educates staff members on how to safely transfer residents in and out of bed or in and out of wheelchairs, for example. This is crucial for the safety of the residents and helps to reduce the incidences of work place injuries. This education keeps both the staff and the residents safe, and ensures the comfort of all involved.
Occupational Therapists also understand the proper use of body bio-mechanics. This forms the basis of client handling education, and training is required to properly utilize these principals by staff members. Occupational Therapists are able to effectively train staff members in this area and others, such as fall prevention. To help staff members with this, the Occupational Therapist will outline physical risks for individual residents, environmental risks, and risky behaviors of the elderly who are mobile and who have a diagnosis of arthritis, hip arthritis, or osteoarthritis. Understanding risky behaviors is particularly important as it is a significant factor in maintaining the independence of elderly residents while simultaneously ensuring their safety.
Occupational Therapists working in long term care also educate staff and family members on ways to keep residents safe with the use of mobility aids such as walkers or wheelchairs, tilt-in-space wheelchairs, or canes. In order to keep residents at nursing homes, senior centers or retirement homes safe, this type of training must take place. Occupational Therapists also help staff members learn the proper use of sit to stand lifts and ceiling lifts in order to prevent workplace injuries.
Occupational Therapists do more than perform wheelchair assessments or help rehabilitate people. Their role is multi-faceted and, as we can see from the above examples, often includes education and training, something many people don’t think of when they think about Occupational Therapy. In order for a nursing home, senior center or retirement home to have a rounded team of healthcare specialists, an Occupational Therapist must be involved because of the wide range of roles he or she plays in the long term care field.