Activities of Daily Living, Return to Work, Safety and Mobility, Life Skills
What is I/ADL?
I/ADL is a term widely used in occupational therapy. It stands for both Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). ADLs and IADLs are daily activities that contribute to quality of life.
Some examples of ADLs include:
- Walking or mobilizing around the home and community
- Dressing and grooming
- Transferring (moving from on position to another; sitting to standing, transferring into a shower or bathtub, getting in and out of bed)
- Meeting basic fitness and nutrition needs
Examples of I/ADLs include:
- Managing finances
- Meal preparation
- Housecleaning and home maintenance
- Social and family interaction
- Filing and organizing
Problems with ADLs and IADLs usually reflect issues with physical, mental or cognitive health.
Occupational therapists (OTs) assess I/ADLs and develop therapy plans to help support people in their ability to live a meaningful and full life by helping them to address any barriers. Rehabilitation assistants support occupational therapists in carrying out life skills plans and coaching support.
Occupational therapists assess safety and independence with respect to I/ADLs. In some cases, simple changes may allow individuals to continue to live independently and/or maximize quality of life. In other cases, more intensive rehabilitation programs or changes are required in order to support independence. OTs assess and make recommendations regarding methods of maximizing safety in the home environment. This may include home modifications, specialized home appliances (auto shut-off), cognitive rehabilitation programs, counselling or psychotherapy support, and more.
Return to Work
Work and volunteer activities are also important contributors to quality of life. Occupational therapists can support return to work or work engagement by developing rehabilitation programs. OTs often use the client’s actual work tasks and environments as a basis for rehabilitation. Once they familiarize themselves with the job requirements and functional abilities, OTs can work with clients and employers to identify changes/modifications to the job requirements or environment, develop gradual return to work plans, and collaborate with rehabilitation and/or medical team members to implement prescribed job restrictions. As tolerance increases, tasks are adapted to match the individual’s abilities until they have reached maximal recovery.