How to perform an OT screen for adults - video tutorial and forms! | #occupationaltherapy #OT #SNFOT #HomehealthOT #OTtreatmentideas

How to Perform an Occupational Therapy Screening (For Adults!)

Mandy Chamberlain MOTR/L Education & Tips for Independent Living 3 Comments

I get asked all the time about how to perform a quick and easy occupational therapy screening to help decide if a referral is necessary for skilled occupational therapy services for adults.

I gotcha! and I wanted to share one of the educational videos on this topic from the Seniors Flourish Learning Lab.

What is an occupational therapy screen?

It is a "hands-off" look to identify a patient's needs and possible rehab potential with the determination to see if they would benefit from skilled OT services.

You may be requested to do a screen because it is a "quarterly" screen (in a nursing home setting) or referral for screen from staff/other disciplines/MD to see if a prescription would be appropriate.

They can take a lot of time while you are learning, but trying to be efficient is key. Mine typically take no more than 15 minutes. You are not evaluating them, but seeing if they would benefit from SKILLED service.

How to perform an OT screen for adults - video tutorial and forms! | #occupationaltherapy #OT #SNFOT #HomehealthOT #OTtreatmentideasTypically I complete a short chart review and specifically look at/do:

  • level of function at admission
  • current pain scales
  • functional level charting (and if it has changed recently)
  • talk to the staff and/or referral source (CNAs have SO much knowledge about the patients/residents functional ability and difficulties)
  • ask the patient directly what they are having trouble with and if they have noticed any changes in:
    • function
    • more staff assistance
    • pain
    • skin integrity
    • mobility


Most common things to pick a patient up for skilled OT service through a screen include:

  • pain
  • falls
  • w/c positioning
  • splinting/ROM changes
  • w/c management
    • do they need a power mobility?
    • are they able to perform functional mobility independently?
  • ADL
  • weightloss: feeding/eating difficulty
  • wounds/skin
    • it's impact on transfers, use of equipment, positioning, etc
  • do they need a restorative nursing program established (in nursing home setting) or does the program need to be modified to pt's current needs?

In nursing home setting:How to perform an OT screen for adults - video tutorial and forms! | #occupationaltherapy #OT #SNFOT #HomehealthOT #OTtreatmentideas

  • If you think it is appropriate to "pick them up," you must make sure that there is nursing/CNA documentation that they have had a decline in the area that you are seeing
  • Many facilities require "3 days" of documentation, with your screen to actually pick them up and do an evaluation.

I have developed an OT Screen Form as part of a SNF Form Bundle - you can buy the form individually or as part of the entire set of quick organizational forms perfect for the nursing home setting.

The OT Screen is quick checkbox format that helps you provide a comprehensive screen and document need or no need for skilled OT services.

Learning Lab Members exclusively get a 50% off discount on the SNF bundle with the promo code in the "Bonus" Section of the Lab - click here to join the Learning Lab today!

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