Monthly Highlight | OT Appreciation Month

I "heart" OT cookies on a plate

Picture above: photograph of homemade cookies brought in for our Occupational Therapy department this month.

The month of April was occupational therapy appreciation month! It’s been a busy month for our OT department, but our program manager, Judy Morris, has found some time to talk about what exactly OT does.

The primary services of Occupational Therapy that we provide are home evaluations, adaptive equipment, aging in place classes, hearing aids, ADA paratransit review, and fieldwork supervision. Let’s take a look at what each of these services offers.

Home Evaluations | Evaluation of home for accessibility barriers, need for safety equipment, need of education regarding safety and independence in daily activities.  We work with consumers to develop a plan for modification, equipment, and training. We provide follow up with the consumer to implement that plan. Our goal is that consumers can continue to live in their own homes safely and independently for as long as possible.

Adaptive Equipment Loan Closet | We maintain a loan closet of equipment that has been donated to us, and we are able to purchase items through Kent County Senior Millage and other grant funds.  We have grab bars, bathtub seats, mobility devices and other types of equipment that promotes safety in the home. We have given out over 12,000 pieces of equipment, and we are always looking for donations of good used equipment for our loan closet.

Aging In Place Classes | We have funding through KCSM to teach 4 different aging in place classes in Kent County.  We usually teach 20 classes each year for Safety At Home, Tools You Can Use, Help is Out There, and Benefits.  We also have funding to provide 1 class in assistive technology and Tools You Can Use in the counties of Ionia, Montcalm, Osceola, and Mecosta through MDRC.  These are new this year.

Hearing Aids and Specialized Equipment | This is another service funded by KCSM, we can provide hearing aids, and hearing equipment such a TV ears, vibrating smoke alarms, or light signals for people who are hearing impaired.  We can provide a home evaluation for equipment needs, if they are in need of hearing aids, they are referred to an audiologist for a hearing exam and hearing aids.

ADA Paratransit Review | The OT reviews Go Bus applications to make disability determinations on how the disability prevents that individual from riding the mainline bus. We review applications, interviews, and in-person assessments.

OT and COTA Fieldwork Supervision | Our OT team supervises fieldwork at GVSU, WMU, and GRCC.

Judy adds that our OT program at Disability Advocates is very different from the Medical Model of Home Health OT in that we look at the person and how they function in their environment.  We are not offering to rehabilitate the individual, rather we are adapting their environment to allow them to maximize their independence, and stay living in their own homes for as long as possible.

With our involvement in Community Repair Days over the last 27 years, we have received countless hours of volunteer labor to complete these projects. If you’d like to get involved with our OT department or any of our volunteer opportunities, contact Laura St. Louis at or call at 616-949-1100 ext 251.

Katey Berry – Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Judy Morris – Occupational Therapy Program Manager


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