Our occupational therapy team want to make sure that residents are able to function optimally within the work areas and can meet the standards of the workplace.
We therefore conduct internal occupational therapy assessments to ensure correct placement within the work areas, and then to determine whether adaptations need to be made with regards to handling materials, following instructions and task planning. We also want to ensure that residents’ occupational performance is not influenced by external factors in the environment such as lightning, noise or temperature, and therefore we would place residents who require less auditory stimulation in quieter work areas, for example. We also do risk assessments for each resident and day worker so that we can manage challenging behaviour promptly and correctly.
There are weekly walkabouts to analyse the ergonomics of the work areas and to refine the layout and design to improve the work performance of the residents. We recently focused on correct sitting posture and implementing back-saving principles. The donation of 16 ergonomic chairs helped greatly, as they enabled us to place the residents in the correct biomechanical alignment, thereby limiting secondary complications such as malalignment, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders.
All the residents at Horizon House have certain developmental tasks and life roles they need to fulfil. The quality of their performance is limited at times, but with appropriate adaptations we can ensure they are able to reach their full potential. We look at personal management tasks such as self-care, communication and environmental equipment and identify where assistance or adaptations are required. Sometimes simple solutions already exist, such as an adjustable universal cuff which can be used to meet the particular needs of a resident, for example when gripping a utensil such as a toothbrush.
Individual sessions are conducted to improve components of function. All treatment sessions are client-centred and long-term goals are determined in conjunction with the individual to improve their daily functioning.
“Leisure implies freedom and choice … used in a variety of ways, but chiefly to meet one’s personal needs for reflection, self-enrichment, relaxation, or pleasure. While it usually involves some form of participation in a voluntarily chosen activity, it may also be a holistic state of being or even a spiritual experience” (McLean et al., 2008:39). Our physical activity program is an active graded reaction programme with social as well as physical benefits.
All our occupational therapy interventions, which occur on a daily basis, have a single goal: to create an environment in which each resident can flourish.