The digital age of occupational therapy home visits

Tamzin Brott1, Amanda Bishop1

1Waitemata District Health Board, North Shore City , New Zealand

Home visits for occupational therapists in an inpatient setting are time intensive and removes the occupational therapist from the ward, reducing their availability to see other patients.  An average home visit can take a total of 3-4 hours.

The benefits of this project include:

  • providing the best care for our patients via utilisation of resourses and technology effectively
  • clear guidelines indicating when a home visit is required, and the use of technology to offer an alternative option to a home visit, resulting in completion of home visits by a therapist for high complexity patients only .

A pre-trial and post questionnaire was completed to gather the therapist’s perceptions of this new way of working.  A four month trial of an occupational therapy environmental questionnaire was completed.   The patients family/friends completed the form and took photographs and measurements of the home environment.  The number of environmental questionnaires being completed was captured and how many negated the need for a home visit based on the photographs and measurements provided.

At completion of 4 months: 95 environmental questionnaires have been completed and 14 home visit replacements identified in Trendcare.  Potential savings of 42 hours (when average home visit is 3 hours), $1625.04 in staffing costs and infrastraucture savings over this time.

Occupational therapists reported they felt it improved patient and family involvement in discharge planning, improved the timeliness with which therapy is provided and the environmental questionnaire increased the amount of time they can directly spend with patients.


Tamzin Brott is the Executive Director Allied Health, Scientific and Technical (AHST) Professions at Waitemata DHB, providing strategic, professional, clinical and quality leadership for AHST Professions across the organisation. An Occupational Therapist by professional background, Tamzin also holds an MHSc (Hons) and MBA (Hons). Tamzin is passionate about the development of data and digital systems and tools to support, and raise the visibility of, the AHST workforce, leading to better outcomes and enhanced patient experiences for the communities we serve.

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