Re-Think OT

Western New York’s Outpatient Resource

Home Occupational Therapy is a Great Option

Buffalo Occupational Therapy


Outpatient Occupational Therapy | Buffalo NY | Buffalo OT

Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S., CKTS


When given the choice to recover at home with outpatient therapy versus entering a skilled nursing facility, it can be said that it is better (if possible) to choose home health or outpatient services. The truth is, home occupational therapy is the better choice

Three Reasons to Choose Outpatient Occupational Therapy


Over 1.5 million people live in 16,000 nursing homes in the USA and experience an average of 2 million infections a year (1). Infections travel in many ways and although you may be a short-term resident, you are still exposed to the same people, utensils, therapy equipment, and air as more frail or sick counterparts. Statistics released regarding the New York State skilled nursing facility reveals for every 100 people discharged to home, another 66 were transferred to hospitals, while 114 people were discharged to hospitals in New York City.” (2) Urinary tract, respiratory and skin and soft tissue infections are the most common endemic infections among residents. Epidemic infections most commonly reported include gastroenteritis, influenza and skin infections (1).

Why Home Therapy is Better:

You can control the sanitation of your environment and who is coming in and out. Cleaning your own linens and space, investing in an air purifier, and being able to witness your therapist/nurse clean/sanitize the tools you are using is an optimal scenario.


it is important to address the dynamics and transactional relationship between the person,environment, and occupational performance. Aging with Purpose adheres to the PEO (person/environment/occupation).  Model of practice emphasizes an individual’s“intrinsic need for involvement, expression, skill development, and enjoyment. Where occupation serves as the means for satisfying this need” (3) According to the PEO model, attributes/factors of the person, environment and occupation/occupational performance work synchronously and interdependently of one another. Quality of life diminishes when one of these aspects is affected. Being comfortable and happy in your physical environment is crucial to successful outcomes of therapy—maximizing each therapy session and ultimately decreasing required out of pocket costs.


Sleep is crucial for physical, mental, and emotional healing. After an injury, sickness, or recent trauma your cognitive and physical faculties require REM sleep to be able to heal and return to optimal homeostasis. In a Skilled Nursing environment, you are frequently sharing a room with another resident who may have many guests, be vocal about their discomfort, require skilled attention throughout the evening hours, desire television 24/7, or require noisy machinery. Many individuals require extended stay due to wellness regression or poor therapy outcomes due to exhaustion and fatigue resulting from lack of quality sleep.


As a clinician, I will be honest about he shortcomings of a facility. It is impossible to address all realistic scenarios someone will face after they are discharged home from a SNF. It is very difficult for many patients to see or understand the relevance of simulated tasks using cones, rings, pegs, and other common therapy items. It is discouraging both to the clinician and the patient and has been known to be detrimental to positive therapeutic outcomes. By choosing home therapy or outpatient therapy with a skilled clinician, it allows for greater/ more personalized client-driven practice.

Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S, CKTS  is both an occupational therapist and CARES Dementia Specialist. She has been an elder care professional for 7+ years. Working in various aspects of the elder care industry has given her a generalist skill set and a broad knowledge base of elder care approaches and resources. Michelle is passionate about influencing the elder care industry advocating against nursing home negligence and elder abuse, and working with older adults to enable them to live in their own homes throughout the aging process.

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