in room treatment ideas for occupational therapy

55 Effective In Room Treatment Ideas for OT

Sometimes we need in room OT treatment ideas because our patient is isolated, has low endurance, we want to work on occupation based interventions or we just do not have the room in the therapy gym for all the patients.

Do you have any in room occupational therapy intervention ideas?

I am going to share some treatment ideas that you can do with your patients while they are on isolation or working  in their rooms and discuss how to make sure our goals continue to reflect progressive, achievable, client centered outcomes.

Not only are in-room treatments a challenge for you as a clinician, but it can be very difficult for our patients as well.

It is our job to not only help them achieve their goals, but bring care, compassion and use our therapeutic use of self to help our patient’s through isolation. 

It can definitely be hard when our patient rooms commonly look like this ⬇️.
In room treatment ideas for OT
Pic via Northstar Commercial Construction LLC

✅ Basic.

✅ Not a lot of supplies.

✅ No “equipment.”

But this is where OT can shine✨ as we are experts in being occupation based!

Evaluation and Goal Writing for In Room OT Treatments

Even though we will be completing our evaluations and goals with our patients in isolation. Do we need to alter the plan of care since our treatments will be done completely in-room?

No way!

We need to continue to complete comprehensive evaluations using the OTPF guidelines, an occupational profile, good interviewing skills and outcome measures where appropriate.

Instead of adapting our evaluations to fit our current treatment limitations, we need to increase our creativity, use our activity analysis skills and meet the needs of our patients first. Using the outcome measures are of upmost value these days to ensure that we are creating a plan of care that is measurable and client centered.

If this is difficult for you, one great resource is the OT Goal Writing and Goal Bank Guide ebook, which breaks down each section of a “comprehensive” goal, gives examples and helps you write rock solid goals. This will also make treatment planning and daily intervention so much easier since your plan of care is clear and client directed (including those in-room treatments!).

Another great resource is joining the OT Accelerator, which has hundreds of occupational therapy intervention ideas, resources and assessments that you can assess 24/7.

Not feeling confident working with older adults in your OT practice? If you are new to working in SNF or Home Health, we are here to level up your practice! Join the OT Flourish Membership today!

Depending on what you can/cannot take into the patient’s room, what setting you work in and what are the goals your patient needs to work on in order to achieve their goals (YEA for activity analysis skills!), here are a few isolation-worthy treatment examples…

ADL/IADL In Room OT Treatment Ideas


  • ADLs
    • actually do the tasks of bathing, dressing, make up, shave, shoes, etc
  • Fall recovery techniques
  • Washing hands and proper hygiene
  • Transfers
    • to and from bed, toilet, chair, wheelchair, etc with walker, transfer pole, sliding board, etc
  • Disinfect surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, remote controls, drawer pulls, walker, wheelchair, etc
  • Wheelchair training
  • Reorganize the closet/drawers
  • Fold laundry
  • Painting nails
  • Nail care
    • could even use old toothbrush too
  • Tidy up the room
  • Make the bed/change pillow cases/strip bed
  • Replace water in water bottle/cup
  • Bed mobility
    • up and down bed, as well as in and out depending on ability or what side they get in and out of at home
  • Scooting up and down the edge of the bed (left and right)
  • Access/use remote controls and call buttons
  • Replace water in water bottle

Games/Activities for In Room OT Treatment Ideas That Address Body Functions


  • Scavenger hunt in the room with/without reacher – hiding some of their own items in their bathrooms, closets, drawers to get them moving around their room and dynamic reaching, balance, etc
  • Obstacle course
    • with walker, sit to stand at EOB 3x, side step between chair and bed, go around the chair, walk down to end of room, come back, use reacher to pick up washcloth on floor, and start over, etc
  • Crumple up paper and shoot into trashcan
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Zumba
  • Dancing
    • anything guided: cha cha slide, macarana, etc
  • Shaving cream on mirror to clean/games/have fun in!
  • Good ‘ol general exercise
  • Dry erase markers on mirrors/windows – games, or even pictures, drawings or sayings of inspiration/hope/springtime
  • Integrating “power ups” into transfers and ADL (exclusive OT Flourish Membership Micro Learning Video)
  • Post-it notes
    • games like wall sized tic tac toe or even visual scanning or safety during mobility training with a scavenger hunt
  • Origami
  • Put bean bags from the therapy gym in ziplocks and play games like “corn hole” with tape on the floor
  • Edema management
  • Seating and positioning
  • Stained glass windows
    • painters tape in geometric designs on window/glass, paint different colors in each section and then remove the tape
  • Eye spy for visual scanning
  • Write letters to loved ones
  • Wringing out washcloths


Want a pdf list of all these In Room Treatment Ideas and ways to grade each activity?

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  • Discharge planning
  • Precaution education
  • Chronic health management
  • Home safety
  • Skin integrity
  • Splint use
  • Use of smart phones to connect with family/contact emergency services
  • Oxygen cord management
  • Continence management
  • Catheter management
  • Fall prevention
  • Pursed lip/Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Pacing
  • Energy conservation
  • Diabetic foot checks
  • Training in using elbow for cough
I know of some facilities that were able to do zoom with people in other rooms for a “group” activity like chair yoga.
Use those motivational interviewing skills to really dig into what they want and need to be able to do, what their goals are and their concerns.

What else would you add to this list?

Not feeling confident working with older adults in your OT practice? If you are new to working in SNF or Home Health, we are here to level up your practice! Join the OT Flourish Membership today!

4 thoughts on “55 Effective In Room Treatment Ideas for OT”

    1. Mandy Chamberlain MOTR/L

      so glad they are helpful! I’ve been an OTR for 20 years and am STILL looking for creative ideas!

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