Home Environment Simulation as an Alternative to Home Assessment

Ms Sarah Campbell1

1Healthscope, The Victorian Rehabilitation Centre, Glen Waverley, Australia


Aim: Occupational Therapy home assessments have historically formed a core component of discharge planning practice in rehabilitation services.  Significant associated resource consumption (inclusive of administration and travel requirements) necessitates exploration of opportunities available to instead address environment-linked goals within a facility setting. This project aimed to explore facility-based home environment simulation as an alternative to home assessment.

Method: Data on existing home assessment practices was collected and analysed. Allied Health Clinicians were engaged to confirm home environment simulation space components. Onsite trade assistance was secured for design and construction support. Clinician and consumer feedback was sought during trial and design refinement.

Results: Home assessments utilised, on average, almost three hours of clinician time (167 minutes). Two-thirds of this time was consumed by travel/transportation (~1 hour) and planning/documentation (~1 hour) requirements. 14% of home assessments had a primary objective of step or transfer assessment/re-training. Data and feedback supported the introduction of a simulation space inclusive of modifiable bathroom components and customised steps. Consumer self-rated confidence levels, for functional transfers, have shown improvement, post simulation space use to date.

Significance of the findings to allied health: Further data collection is indicated. Current results indicate potential for a reduction in home assessments required – those with a transfer assessment/re-training focus, via simulation space use. This could positively impact organisation resource consumption (allowing for reallocation of time/vehicle capacity), whilst also providing greater opportunity for clinicians to tailor facility-based therapy sessions to each individual consumer.


Sarah Campbell is an Allied Health Manager at The Victorian Rehabilitation Centre. She has a clinical background in Occupational Therapy, having completed her dual degree in Occupational Therapy/Behavioural Science at La Trobe University in 2006.