One Handed Strategies for Personal Care Tasks

presented by Debra Latour

Accreditation Check:

Occupational therapists advise and counsel clients on strategies to increase functional independence and improve quality of life. Many occupational therapists struggle with knowing how to demonstrate adaptive strategies to clients who have suffered loss of one hand or loss of function of one hand to complete functional activities. This four-part series is directed toward completion of bi-manual tasks using such adaptive strategies with one hand, the residual limb, and a prosthesis, and may include the use of assistive devices.

The first part of this series focuses on completing personal care tasks including feeding, hygiene, toileting, and dressing. Patients often desire independence in these very intimate tasks without the fear of relying on another person or caretaker to accomplish them. Join Debi Latour as she personally demonstrates how to complete each of these personal care tasks.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Debra Latour, M.Ed., OTR/L

    Debra Latour has been an innovator from her earliest years. Debi wore her first prosthesis at the age of 14 months and then spent the years that followed working with the clinical team at Shriners Hospitals to improve upon their prosthetic designs. When it came time to decide upon her next step, Debi decided that a career as an occupational therapist was just what she needed. Not only could she combine her interest in art with her love of science, but she felt like her use of a prosthesis could really provide a unique perspective to her future patients. So, Debi enrolled at the Tufts University/Boston School of Occupational Therapy and then eventually received her Master’s in the Advanced Practice of Occupational Therapy from Springfield College. Debi’s career in occupational therapy has taken her around the world to present on topics related to successful patient care for upper limb prosthetic patients. She has been a featured speaker at events throughout the US, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands. For the past thirteen years, she has worked with pediatric patients through the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, MA as well as serving as an adjunct professor at Springfield College since 2006. Debi’s passion for helping people not only applies to her patients but also to all the people in her life. She enjoys spending a great deal of time with her immediate and far-reaching family members. Debi has also spent a substantial amount of time working on her new Anchor Technology that provides a completely new way for patients who use body-powered, upper limb prosthesis to have a more solid suspension system. Whether it is her family, her friends or her Handspring patients, Debi Latour is dedicated to helping to improve their lives each and every day.

    Read full bio

Chapters & Learning Objectives

Download Learning Objectives
  1. Feeding

    1. Feeding

    A basic necessity in life is the ability to eat, however, when faced with the function of only one hand, this task might prove a challenge. In this first chapter, Debi Latour offers a variety of strategies to approach eating and feeding oneself.

  2. Hygiene

    2. Hygiene

    A number of personal hygiene tasks may seem impossible to complete with the use of only one hand, yet many individuals value the ability to complete these tasks without the help of someone else. Join Debi Latour as she demonstrates a variety of hygiene tasks including teeth brushing, contact application, and hair brushing.

  3. Dressing/Undressing

    3. Dressing/Undressing

    Getting dressed and undressed is a task we complete each day. Strategies to don and doff all types of clothing from undergarments to outerwear are shown in this chapter.

  4. Bathing

    4. Bathing

    Bathing presents its own set of unique challenges for those individuals with the use of only one hand, especially since those who use a prosthesis may not do so while bathing.

  5. Toileting, Feminine Hygiene, and Intimacy

    5. Toileting, Feminine Hygiene, and Intimacy

    These sensitive topics may not be a favorite for discussion, but it’s important for occupational therapists to feel comfortable addressing them with their clients. In this final chapter for personal care tasks, Debi Latour expertly navigates what many try to avoid.