What is the visit for? Every person and every home is different. The purpose of the visit is to make the safest discharge plan and to see how the person copes in their own environment.
Who arranges the visit? The Occupational Therapist (OT) is usually responsible for this.
Who attends?Hospital staff The OT, other hospital therapists or staff from the community if the discharge is complicated. The patient If the patient is physically able to come they should also be there. If the patient is unable to attend or the access to the property is not suitable for the patient to use ,the therapist will visit to take measurements or check for possible changes which may be needed. Relatives and carers are usually informed and may be invited to attend. Do not worry if you can’t attend the visit because of other commitments. Ask to be informed of the outcome of the visit or issues raised and any recommendations before any decisions are made. If there are many family members usually one person will be asked to act as representative as it can be very distracting for the person if the visit turns into a family gathering.
What happens?Assessment of the person doing every day tasks is done. Each room which the person will use will be checked. It is not necessary to see rooms which the person will not be able to use. Tasks The therapists will check walking, transfers from chair,bed and toilet. If necessary the person may be asked to make a hot drink or snack in the kitchen. Safety This is not only for safety checks but can show the therapist how the person is able to find and use everyday items, reach to high or low shelves without loosing balance and follow a sequenced task without missing any important elements. The bathroom will be assessed for the safest way to access the bath/shower/toilet. Measurements may be taken for height of any equipment which will be used. Stairs and exits are checked for possible additional rails. Sometimes by rearranging existing furniture or equipment this creates more usable space. Practice On some visits the person will practise a new technique which they have been using in hospital. For example climbing stairs safely if one side of the body is weaker. This can be shown to the carers and they can practice with the patient and therapists to build confidence.
What if I have questions?Being on the visit Carers will usually be invited to attend a home visit if this is appropriate. If the person has problems with concentration or is easily distracted the therapist may ask for as few people as possible to attend. See for yourself The visit allows you to see for yourself what the person can do for themselves and what they still find difficult. Plans and arrangements Therapists should answer your questions and discuss what the next steps will be towards discharge plans. You can ask what the plans are and who will be making the arrangements. If the therapists have asked you to make some of the arrangements such as moving furniture they should get your agreement and give you a time scale when this needs to be completed. Sensitive issues It is important for you to have your say. If you prefer to speak to the therapists in private or after the visit let them know. There may be an issue which is sensitive and you do not want to bring up during the visit. Your concerns If you feel you need any training or more practise using a method or equipment let them know. Discuss your own limitations for example if you have back problems and do not feel you can assist with any physical care let them know so alternative arrangements can be made. Contact numbers You should be given a contact number in case you think of other questions later.