Apps for Home Modifications: OTs, is it time to put down our pens and tape measure?

ILC OT measuring the wiedth of a step as part of an assessmentAre you an occupational therapist (OT) working in home visiting and home modifications prescription? Spending half your day drawing and filling in forms? Many of us already take advantage of mobile phones and tablets to keep in touch with our friends and family, organise our days and even manage virtual farms, but there are other uses for these technologies that can translate into our working lives.

Simple to use (and sometimes free!) applications can allow us to record, prescribe and organise home modifications, send photos, measurements and plans straight through to the builder or tradesperson. Working as a home visiting occupational therapist in a private practice I had the opportunity to explore a few of these apps and have shared some of my favourites below. Having compared the ‘room capture’ features with the good ol’  fashioned hands-on method I can say it’s not quite time to throw away the tape measure yet, but if you are a busy OT with drawing skills as poor as mine apps may be worth a go!  

Minor modifications

Skitch ($2.49)

Good for:  Annotating photos and PDF forms. Helpful for quick snaps for minor installations. This app also has a free version and both are very easy to use. You are able to take a photo, add text and other annotations and then save or send via email. Plans can be hand drawn and other documents including web pages, maps and PDFs can be annotated inside the application.

Being able to annotate PDF forms could work within paperless workplaces, enabling assessment forms and home modification authorization forms to be signed by clients or home owners. There is a free version of Skitch, although the full version will need to be purchased to be able to annotate PDFs.

screen shot of magnification function in application screen shot of zoom function in application electronic signature can be annotated on PDF

Photo Measures ($8.99)

Good for: Annotating photos. Helpful for quick snaps for minor installations. This app is similar to Skitch, and is very simple to use. There is also a free version, however the full version will need to be purchased to be able to export annotated photos and plans. A photo is taken or uploaded from the phone’s camera roll and edited by dragging your fingers to add lines and measurements. Images are then saved or sent directly via email.

Major Modifications

OT Draw ($299)

OTdrawpicGood for: minor and major modifications – as you can draw onto photos, and create side view or birds eye view plans for objects (e.g. ramps), rooms or full houses. OT Draw offers a free trial version which lasts for 30 days. OT Draw is a computer based program used to design stair modifications, ramps and room layout by following step-by-step instructions and inputting values. Photos can also be annotated to create home modification requests.

step-by-step stair design function  step-by-step stair design functionstep-by-step stair design function

MagicPlan (free)

Good for: Room and full house plans. Very quick and easy to use for plans. I have used the free version of this myself and found it very easy to use. Plans are easy to import and print. The app allows users to draw a room or whole house plans by drawing, editing templates or by capturing the dimensions of a room by using your phone’s camera. Plans can be imported into other programs to represent proposed modifications over existing plans. To unlock all of the features the full version is available for purchase.

Stanley Floor Plan (free)

Good for: Room and full house plans. This app is very similar to Magic Plan in appearance and features.

Other useful home visiting apps

Other applications that may assist with providing an occupational therapy in-home assessment include:

  • Skype: This app may be particularly helpful for clients living in regional areas where therapists can access specialist advice. This application requires a wireless internet connection or access to mobile data.
  • Adobe Reader/Pro: This app allows users to upload documents and add text and signatures, this could be useful in a paperless work environment allowing clients and therapists to sign installation authorisation forms.

Here is a list of other applications that may be worth exploring:

Have you used any other apps that you have found useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

4 Responses

  1. Alex Andrews says:

    This looks great Kelly, well done on setting up these apps for OTs.

  2. Faye Forster says:

    Thanks for a great resource. Are you aware of whether there are any new wonder apps to add to this list?

    • Gail Stacey says:

      Hi Faye, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes this blog post with list of apps is very well read and a great resource for many. If you would like to keep up to date with any further information you could sign up to our e-newsletter from our home page. If you are an OT looking to up skill we have some advanced home modification training coming up later in the year. Thanks Faye

  3. Paul Hurst says:

    Hi, I’ve been using the MyMeasures app for several years now as it is great and quick to use with photos for minor mods. Builders like the photo so they can see what materials will needed and the surface to put rails into. Works well on the iPad. Just need to get the referral form to work on the iPad and we could do the whole referral whilst at clients home or on the road.

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