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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Dill

Why have an Occupational Therapist on your design team?

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Are you thinking about a remodeling project or beginning new construction, or maybe you’re simply not sure where to begin before you even get to the drawing board; you may wonder…” Why should I hire an occupational therapist to help me with my project?” That is a very valid question. A question I’m sure even professionals think when I approach them about what I do and how I can help their future clients. Again, it is a very valid question.

Maybe you have already skimmed through my website and read more about Blue Day 2 Designs and who I am and still wonder “what is the difference between hiring an occupational therapist to consult on your project and hiring an architect or interior designer?” The answer is below but note, we are experienced in working with multiple professionals and we do not eliminate the use of an architect or interior designer. Let me explain.

When someone is hospitalized, it’s not just one professional treating the individual.  It’s a team of different types of professionals who meet and review the progress on the patient with a goal to help the patient achieve specific goals and to get the individual healthy enough to discharge. Or maybe the patient is utilizing outpatient services and requires all the health services available from a pediatrician, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and counselor who all will work together to improve a child’s overall health and quality of life.  This same team approach applies outside the clinic, in your environment.

As occupational therapists, we treat the whole person, not the person’s diagnosis. The doctors focus on the diagnosis. We focus on function and reaching goals to improve a person’s quality of life outside the walls of the hospital. We collaborate with the team to make sure we are all on the same page or make sure we have considered all conservative options; much like when a primary care doctor gets other specialists involved before calling in a surgeon.

Not one professional is superior over another, and no professional typically knows all the answers. Having an occupational therapist at the design table increases the value of everyone’s contribution to your project. As occupational therapists, we focus on maximizing and optimizing your function and safety in your personal spaces. We customize designs by factoring in your abilities now and in the future and how the environment impacts your abilities. This is our specialty!

Who can use occupational therapists for their remodeling / home modification or new construction projects?

Anyone! Particularly, the following:

  • A person with a medical condition, progressive disorder, or disability;

  • A person seeking to live in their home forever (also known as “aging in place”);

  • Multi-generational families;

  • A person seeking to make their home “visitable”, or open for visitors of all abilities (universal designs would be integrated) – also increases the value of your home;

  • A person who is limited on time or overwhelmed with the new construction or remodeling projects;

  • A person seeking guidance on building with accessibility features or universal design to improve the person’s functional performance (person’s seeking guidance can include architects, interior designers, contractors).

Why hire an occupational therapist to consult on your project:

  • We assess and evaluate how you completes your activities of daily living (ADLs) and how you currently function in your space(s) to develop the most appropriate recommendations to improve your safety and independence.

  • We have comprehensive knowledge of people as a whole, the human growth and development. We understand how physical and cognitive skills are impacted by illnesses, diseases, or injuries across the lifespan.

  • The above skills, allow us to be the number one resource for recommendations on product, home modifications, and home designs. We have knowledge on adaptive equipment and assistive technology to enhance the quality of life within your spaces.

  • We factor in your abilities now and in the future when developing specific recommendations for architects and their design team.

  • We collaborate with other professionals to help you achieve your goals and make your space fit for you and your family.

How much does this cost?

This is usually the first question. When you pay for therapy services, most of the time insurance covers the evaluation and certain number of visits or hours of treatment, and the costs aren’t known unless you ask or see it on your review of benefits. An evaluation (60-90 minutes) can cost approximately $275, which includes the evaluation, report, and recommendations. Depending on insurance, you’re allotted so many treatments and if paying in cash, the cost of each visit varies from location to location. Medicare will cover some home modification services and pay occupational therapists around $140/hour. Some occupational therapist in the home modification / home design business take insurance or Medicare. Most are private pay due to the lengthy process of getting a Medicaid/Medicare waiver or filing for insurance, which often times delays getting paid. These consultation services vary in costs across the country.

When you have a team of experts, every detail is reviewed and each person contributes to the final product to ensure a happy client in the end. If you are currently seeking assistance with a remodeling or new construction project, contact Blue Day 2 Designs to see if we are a good fit for you and your medical, therapy, and/or construction or remodeling team. We can assist on projects virtually or, we can help you find an occupational therapist in your area from our list of referrals across the country.

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