Meet the People Behind the Mission: Occupational Therapy
Apr. 3, 2023
By Zach Bohn
What exactly is occupational therapy?
My name is Zach Bohn and I have been an occupational therapist (OT) for Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice for over 3 years. I graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2018 and much of my professional career has been in the home health care setting. I believe that home health care is an ideal setting for occupational therapy because it incorporates so many aspects of the profession as I will explain in the article below.
Occupational Therapy (OT) and Home Health Care
First, I think it’s important to explain the term “occupation,” which is the foundation of OT. Many times, my new clients are confused about why they need occupational therapy. Many people associate OT with “job therapy”, and I hear many people say things along the lines of, “I don’t have a job.” “I don’t need occupational therapy,” or “Why do I need to learn how to work?” Occupational therapy is so much more than that.
An “occupation” can be thought of as anything that a person does during their day that is meaningful and gives a person a sense of purpose and identity. More specifically, in-home care occupations are anything that is done throughout the day in a person’s home. This includes activities of daily living (ADLs/self-cares) such as bathing and dressing and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs/household tasks) such as cooking and cleaning.
My goal as an occupational therapist is to work with the client, and their family, to ensure that they are completing these occupations as safely and independently as they can.
When does occupational therapy get involved in a client’s care?
There are many ways that we can begin working with a client. My work most often begins when a client has sustained an injury or accident (fracture, muscle tear, stroke), or undergone surgery (joint replacement, spinal fusion, heart procedures, etc). Generally speaking, when a client is recovering from an incident like the examples above, they experience a decrease in their independence and safety with daily in-home occupations.
Once involved, what does OT do?
My job is to evaluate a client’s unique in-home situation. As an occupational therapist, I consider the entire picture. This includes the client (physical and cognitive ability), the setup of their home environment, their support system (spouse, family, staff members), and the occupations that are completed within their home. I strive to make sure that the fit between all of these is appropriate at that given time and ensure that it will be in the future.
To meet the goal of being as safe and independent as possible, we often recommend and provide training on adaptive equipment (reachers, sock aids, shoehorns, dressing sticks, etc), different ways to complete tasks while remaining safe (compensatory techniques/strategies), and additional recommendations for modifications to the home setup. At times, it is most appropriate and safe for assistance to be provided. In that case, we ensure this is possible and provide the necessary education. Sometimes this is temporary as a client continues to rehabilitate, and sometimes this is long-term. We are also able to work on those physical deficits by creating exercise programs unique to the client, as well as being trained at assessing an individual’s mental ability and making recommendations depending on the results.
Could OT help you reach your goals?
Occupational therapy and home health care can be extremely helpful in improving an individual’s independence and safety at home. If you are unsure whether home health care is right for you, take our free online assessment. If you are ready to speak with a professional about care options, please contact our team at (701)809-9319 or fill out a form for more information.
More about Zach
Zach earned his master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of North Dakota in 2018. He has experience in settings including home health care, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care, and outpatient rehabilitation settings. Zach’s passion is to assist clients in living their life as independently and safely as possible, completing activities that are meaningful to them, and using creativity to age in place when possible. He is licensed in the states of North Dakota and Minnesota, with additional training in the area of Dementia Capable Care and a special interest in neuromuscular rehabilitation.