Are you looking into adapting your home? If so, you might have heard or read references to an ‘occupational therapist assessment’. 

Perhaps you’ve got one coming up or have been advised to access the service. Whatever your situation, if you’d like to know what to expect from an occupational therapist assessment, read this blog.

What Is An Occupational Therapist’s Role?

Millions of people live with disabilities, illnesses, injuries from accidents, mental health issues and ageing. These things can make everyday activities more difficult, and doing things you once enjoyed can prove challenging.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping people to carry out everyday tasks at home, work and out and about. With extensive scientific knowledge under their belt and a keen interest in the mental well-being of their patients, occupational therapists help patients optimise their life skills and increase their independence so that they can live a more fulfilling life.

The work of an occupational therapist is extremely broad. For a client with mental illness, an OT may support the individual in accessing work opportunities. For a patient who has recently undergone major, life-changing surgery, an OT might help them learn how to use assistive equipment at home. 

As well as working with individual patients, OTs also work in other areas. They might lead a group, or be stationed within a team in a hospital or clinic. 

You might have met an NHS OT during a hospital stay, or come across a Community OT. OTs can offer advice, create therapy plans and even provide help with home adaptations. Whilst everyone is eligible for an occupational therapist assessment, not everyone will qualify for council-funded adaptations.

Some people opt for private OT assessments and services if they want to access help quickly.

What Is An OT Assessement?

An occupational therapist assessment is an appointment where an OT visits you in your home to see how you’re managing on a day-to-day basis. Let’s cover some of the most common questions you might have on your mind.

What Is The OT Looking For?

During your OT assessment, the OT will want to learn about how things were before, how things are at the moment and how it’s all making you feel. They will ask you questions about what you can do around the home as well as what you find difficult, and what goals you would like to achieve.

OTs are looking to find out what physical, emotional and cognitive barriers prevent their client from living and loving their life to the max.

What Will The OT Do During The Assessment?

OTs conducting an assessment will talk to you at length about your daily life and may ask personal questions to understand your circumstances fully.

During the assessment, the OT might also ask you to demonstrate tasks so that they can more formally observe the challenges you face. 

You’ll notice that the OT will make plenty of notes and even take photos of your set-up whilst they’re attending your home. This is to help them write a comprehensive report after the assessment. 

Who Will They Speak To?

Your OT will speak to you as well as any family members present at your assessment. This is to make sure they know exactly what challenges you face in your daily life. They may also ask to access your medical records to better understand any condition present.

How Long Will It Take?

An OT assessment can take anywhere from 20 minutes in a hospital or clinic setting, to a good couple of hours at a client’s home. An OT may visit more than once if they feel they need to.

Questions To Ask In Your OT Assessment

It’s important that you feel able to ask questions and draw attention to things during your assessment. Your OT wants a full picture of your life within your home, and that means not brushing over things.

If you feel some areas haven’t been covered, or you disagree with suggestions that are being made, make sure you mention them. The same goes for anything they say that you don’t understand – don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

If you have a treatment plan in place, this is a good time to go through it with your OT so that they have a comprehensive understanding of what it means for you. You might also have questions about the type of changes and adaptations to your home that will help. 

Other questions that might be useful and are worth considering include:

  • Are there any books you can read or research you can do that might help your progress?
  • How long does your OT expect you to need their help in achieving your goals?
  • Does your OT have any specialised training in working with someone with your specific condition, disability or mental health condition? 
  • What can you be doing outside of your therapy sessions, if continued OT treatment is advised, to maximise progress? And how can family members or loved ones help out?

What Happens After Your Assessment?

After your in-depth assessment, your OT will write a report including any adaptations they think you’ll need to make your life easier. They will send this report to you and anyone else involved in your care and life, such as your landlord, housing association or council housing team, if applicable. 

If you disagree with any of the suggestions, this is the best time to bring it up. You are entitled to request a second opinion, but this may be something you have to pay for with a private OT, and it may not make a difference to your outcome. 

Funding Your Adaptations

Once you know which adaptations will help you live more comfortably, you’ll probably begin to wonder how you’re going to pay for them. In England, the local authority will pay for any minor adaptations costing under £1000 for individuals who qualify, but other changes might require you to put the money up yourself.

The good news is that there is help out there. 


The Disabled Facilities Grant, paid for by your local authority, covers up to £30,000 for major adaptations to your home if your OT has highlighted these changes. The maximum amount increases to £36,000 in Wales but is £25,000 in Northern Ireland and doesn’t exist in Scotland.

Many charities can also help secure funding. Have a look at the turn2us website for help understanding your options.

VAT Exemptions

Some equipment, services and adaptations could qualify for VAT relief, but because applications are assessed individually, there’s no easy way to determine the exact rules. 

You can read more about VAT exemption in our recent blog

OTs Assess The Whole Person And Work Holistically With Their Clients

Your OT assessment is an important step in getting the right adaptations for your home. It can feel daunting, with personal questions and tests and scales, but it’s all about making sure you are as supported as possible.

Are you worrying about funding future home adaptations? We can help guide you through the minefield. For an in-depth look at financial support for adaptations, read our blog, Funding For Adaptations: Everything You Need To Know.