Independent Living Skills

Promoting independence with personal, leisure and social activities

The journey towards independence begins by identifying the barriers, only then can the process of relearning lost skills truly begin.

Promoting independence through activity

As Occupational Therapists, we are skilled in the assessment of ‘human doing’, placing emphasis on the functional skills required to be independent with daily living activities. We use activity as a medium to structure rehabilitation plans and to promote health and well-being.


Independent living skills include activities that we usually do or wish to do at home, in the community, workplace, school or college. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • self-care activities: bathing, washing, feeding and cleaning teeth
  • domestic activities: care of the home
  • roles and responsibilities: care of others, work and school responsibilities
  • daily routine and organisation: the ability to organise our self and others
  • leisure and recreational activities

Assessment Process

Our assessment process is designed to define an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. We seek to capitalise on the strengths and define the challenges, offering an opinion on what may be contributing to the functional difficulties. This may include challenges with:

  • cognitive skills, such as memory and concentration
  • executive skills, such as planning problem solving and decision making
  • physical ability, such as walking and moving
  • hand and upper function
  • fatigue and sleep
  • mood and behaviour
  • environmental barriers

Throughout the course of a rehabilitation programme we will work alongside individuals, family members, support staff and multi-disciplinary teams to help individuals become more independent.  We will formulate strategies and plans to help them manage their day-to-day activities within their own limitations.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime


Independent living trials and managing changing needs

We have extensive experience of working alongside case managers to implement and plan independent living trials. We have the skills required to advise on immediate and long-term care needs and housing requirements for individuals with complex presentations. 

Working in partnership with the case manager and at the most appropriate time, we can facilitate a safe reduction of support when an accurate picture of individual care needs emerge. This process is highly complex and must be managed appropriately to ensure that stability is maintained for the individual and risks are reduced as much as possible,

Occupational Therapists are experts in the science of doing

Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Independent Living Skills Management

Money management

Being responsible for and managing money is, for some, a central part of independent living. This may range from being fully independent in managing and organising personal affairs to understanding how to budget small sums of money for day-to-day purchases.

We use our ‘Financial Capability Decision Making Tool’ to help us understand an individual’s unique needs in relation to money management. We consider the practicalities, the individual’s understanding of money and the benefits and risks associated with them managing their money themselves.

Using this approach, we can put in place care plans and risk assessments, including petty cash and money management guidelines to inform individuals, family members or support staff in a way that promotes independence whilst at the same time safeguarding all concerned.

We are confident at working with court appointed Deputies, case managers and families to establish a programme for money management regardless of objectives.

Medicine management

For individuals who have complex needs, appropriate management of medication is essential for sustaining health and wellbeing.

Our specialist ‘Medication Risk Assessment’ will determine if an individual has the ability to self-medicate for themselves or if they require varying degrees of support. We are skilled and confident in advising on a variety of solutions, including medication pods, dossette boxes and bespoke systems. We also advise on the level of prompting and support required, advocating the use of telephone support systems or assistive technology, such as specialist apps, where required.

Fatigue management

Fatigue is a common system of brain injury, neurological illness or injury. In order to help an individual to manage their fatigue, a detailed assessment is required to understand the contributing factors or lifestyle choices that may be exacerbating the problem.

We use fatigue management principles to help individuals manage their energy effectively. This includes, conducting an overview of their current and previous routine, introducing modifications to daily routines to maximise function and introduce self-management strategies. An overview of sleep hygiene principles is also conducted as part of the process.

Cognitive rehabilitation

Changes to cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, orientation and visual perceptual skills are common following a neurological injury or diagnosis.

Assessment of these specific cognitive skills can be undertaken during a functional assessment. Functional assessments are analysed by the Occupational Therapist and recorded within our ‘Functional Assessment Template’. This document dovetails into the ‘Performance and Participation Report’ to give an accurate picture of an individual’s functional abilities and the impact of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

In addition to a functional assessment we use a number of standardised assessment tools to formally assess specific cognitive skills, such as memory, these assessments provide a baseline for treatment, and are useful, if required, to aid understanding and assist with the production of bespoke rehabilitation programmes relating to cognitive rehabilitation.

Physical rehabilitation

Changes to physical abilities is common following a neurological diagnosis; this may include muscle weakness and changes in muscle tone, resulting in challenges with moving, bending, reaching and balancing. Problems such as reduced confidence and exercise tolerance, also impact on an individual’s ability to function successfully.

The home, work, college or school environment presents as changing, challenging and dynamic; these environments can introduce barriers to independence for people with disability. The consequences of a neurological diagnosis can be managed and the physical limitations can be overcome. We introduce rehabilitation programmes to improve abilities and confidence, and enable coping strategies, environmental modifications or aids to assist daily living.

Upper limb rehabilitation

A neurological diagnosis can impact on an individual’s ability to use their upper limb and hand during daily living activities or during work, college or school-based tasks. Limitations in function may range from subtle weaknesses to significant limitations due to changes in muscle tone or weakness.

As part of a rehabilitation programme we utilise a number of specialist interventions:

  • functional upper limb and hand rehabilitation programmes, including recommendations for small aids or environmental modifications
  • work station assessments
  • assessment and provision of bespoke splinting or ‘off the shelf’ splinting solutions
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
  • tone management
  • positioning, normal movement principles and compensatory strategies

A unique journey

Penny’s husband George sustained a brain injury after a fall in his bathroom.

She talks openly about George before the accident, the impact of his injuries and the challenges they have faced together.

Meet Penny

What others say about us

  • I am always so impressed by the therapist’s commitment to and ongoing understanding of Claire and her situation. I am sure the rest of the family will share my thoughts so please pass on our heartfelt thanks to the therapy team when you next see them. Sister of brain injury survivor
  • I just wanted to drop you a line to say, whenever I call the office, Claire, in particular, is always very charming and efficient. She is a good representative of your company and has a nice phone manner and a good approach to customer service. So, thank you Claire. Mother of brain injury survivor
  • The following will never be enough to illustrate Paul’s journey but we are eternally grateful to the NHS, IM, ILS, Krysalis and the whole infrastructure that has been created for Paul. Yes, Paul is focused, determined and driven but the whole team have created a rehabilitation environment that has changed our life and Pauls future, they have made the thought of life and rehabilitation, turn from the impossible to the possible. Brother of brain injured survivor
  • The thought of having the family undertake this journey alone seems impossible and we will be always grateful. We all recognise that James is still on the rehabilitation journey, but there is no stopping him. He has just walked to Mum’s & Dad’s on his own (phone first to say he’s on his way)... what a way to celebrate the 2-year journey.Brother of brain injured survivor
  • I highly recommend Krysalis Consultancy OT services. Anna has been our life line since she came on board to help my husband following his brain injury. He has improved greatly thanks to Anna’s input in assisting him to become independent, teaching him step by step the simple things which we all take for granted. Anna is there for us 100%, teaching us both strategies to enable us to achieve better results.Wife of brain injured survivor
  • Just a short note to thank you very much for your hard work and persistence over the last few months, your guidance has undoubtedly helped and taken the pressure off me (I have benefited from the sessions greatly). I am really encouraged by the last few weeks and optimistic that if Peter keeps working at it he will continue to make good progress.Brother of brain injured survivor