What Does In-home Occupational Therapy Services Look Like?

I get a lot of questions about what in-home occupational therapy is.  Here are some popular questions and answers…

funny faceWhy do you go into people’s homes?  (Isn’t easier to see people in a clinic?  We’ve always gone to a clinic or school for OT, can you do OT in our home?)

I go into people’s homes because I feel I can be more effective in my skilled interventions.  It is easier for the therapist to see people in a clinic or school setting (and often harder for families), but easier isn’t my goal.  When I come to a client’s home, I get to work with the whole family in the environment the child is used to being in.  I get to see in real life what works and what doesn’t.  I work to make my interventions and suggestions integrate practically into the home routines, working with parents on the direct implementation of ideas.

What do you do when you come to people’s homes?

I ask that people set aside the time I am scheduled to be at their home to focus on occupational therapy.  Sometimes I come to observe and brainstorm ideas, so we might set-up that I will come during bedtime routines to watch and learn or during a meal time to observe skills.  Other times I set-up with parents (and other caregivers) to meet together and go over home ideas, then spend time together trialing and problem-solving.  Mostly, I spend my time in home watching, playing with children, and talking with parents.

IMG_1709-XLIsn’t being in people’s home distracting with all the other family members, pets, or clutter around?

Yes, it is absolutely distracting.  However, this is real life for the families I work with.  There are times I request a quieter space to work in (like working with a child in a quiet bedroom), but most of the time working through the chaos is the challenge most families faces, so we work on it together.

Do you only work with one child at a time? (Can you help my whole family?)

Because I work through a private pay  model, I can work with whoever needs help.  Sometimes it is one child, other times it is multiple children.  I work with parents and other caregivers, focusing on practical home ideas that fit into daily routines.  Each family is unique in their needs, so I work with each family to create a unique plan.

Do I need to clean my house for you to come?tea party

Please don’t!  I promise my house is messy as well, and I won’t even notice the cheerios on the floor or the toys under the couch.  I don’t want to be treated as a guest in your house; I want to see real life at your house.  Being a parent is hard work, especially if your children have special needs.  My goal is to make my services convenient and effective, not more work for you by cleaning house.  Save your energy for playing with your children!

Do you only work in people’s homes?

Nope.  I am happy to meet where clients are comfortable and where they need help.  This may mean meeting at a park to work on motor skills and safety, meeting at a library to work on handwriting skills, or meeting at home to work on self-feeding skills.

Do you come at the same day and time each week?

Sometimes.  Sometimes families have needs that are best met with weekly sessions, but often this isn’t the case.  I make a specific plan with each family.  This might be meeting 3-4 times to set-up a program, then checking in once a month.  It might mean meeting 5 days in one week to master a critical skill, then meeting weekly to ensure the skill sticks.  This might mean consulting once a month with parents as they create a home sensory play room.  There isn’t a set schedule I follow, it is completely customized to each family’s needs.

Is in-home OT better for me than clinic OT services (or school services?)

Read my post comparing different types of OT services here.

Does insurance cover in-home OT?

Want to learn more about me and my services?

Here are some of my popular blog posts:


Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.  www.paigehays.net