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Home Evaluations Explained

Home Evaluations Explained (plus a handout for patients and caregivers!) – Jason M., OT

For a successful discharge to home, a home evaluation is necessary. I understand that in all patient scenarios and therapy settings a safe, complete home evaluation is not always an option. To be thorough, though, and to ensure that as many safety considerations, performance barriers, and required equipment and services have been addressed, a home evaluation is highly recommended.

In working with patients, their family member and caregivers, and resident services I have found that at times explaining to people the need and process of the home evaluation can be a bit of a barrier itself. Not to mention some patients’ reluctant to allow a therapist to go into their home. To help clarify process and components of the home evaluation I developed the following handout:

Home Evaluation Handout

The who, what, when, where, and why of a home eval:

Who will be attending?

From the facility, a therapist working with the patient and a representative from social/resident services will be going on the home eval. A family member or caregiver of the patient is to be present as well. If appropriate transportation is available, it is expected for the patient to attend.

What is involved in a home eval?

The therapist will take a walk-through the home and assess the environment to meet the care needs and safety of the patient. The therapist will have the patient and caregivers demonstrate and complete certain tasks to see how well they can be performed within the home. Resident services and all those present will be discussing the findings of the home eval and how to proceed with the patient’s care.

When will the home eval be done?

Home evals are typically completed near the end of the patient’s  course of care in preparation for discharge. Refer to the appointment box above for specifics.

Where will the home eval be?

The eval will be of the potential home setting that is being considered for discharge.

Why is a home eval being done?

The home eval is primarily to ensure that the home environment the patient may be discharged to is appropriate and safe to meet the daily needs of the patient physically, mentally, and medically. When the home eval is completed the therapy staff will be able to focus on specific tasks that the patient will need to be able to complete at home, resident services will understand specifically what services/resources the patient will need prior to discharge, and the patient and caregivers will understand the recommendations and criteria that may need to be met prior to discharge.

Created by Jason M., OTR/L

Please understand that this handout was created for an audience of patients, caregivers, and other non-therapy staff members. Whenever I setup a date for a home evaluation, I ensure that those participating get a copy of this handout prior, to assist them with any questions or concerns they may have. Since implementing this handout, my difficulties with setup, participation, and completion of the home evaluations have been rare.  I’ve provided this handout in it’s’ entirety in hopes that you too will use it and find it a helpful supplement to the home evaluation process. In all fairness, in occupational therapy, our focus is a person’s independence and getting them back to their life. Without a successful home eval, can we really know what to prepare them for?