Why Caregivers Should Practice Hand-Over-Hand Assistance with Patients - ACR Homes Skip to content

Why Caregivers Should Practice Hand-Over-Hand Assistance with Patients

hand-over-hand assistance
Written by: Kayla Wildes, Direct Care Professional & On Campus Recruiter at ACR Homes

One main focus of the ACR Homes Mission is to encourage people with disabilities to be as independent as possible. Direct Care professionals can accomplish this is through hand-over-hand assistance, which involves physically guiding a resident's hands through movements, gradually reducing assistance. Hand-over-hand assistance can be implemented in both daily care and fun activities. Using this technique, the resident goes from a passive watcher to an active participant who is able to engage more fully in the world around them. 

A great common use of hand-over-hand assistance is during meal time. Instead of the Direct Care Professional feeding the resident, they assist the resident in feeding themselves. Residents' eating reaction is often promoted from their own motion of bringing food/utensils to their mouth. Additionally, it can build more independence where less and less hand-over-hand assistance is needed. 

A few ACR DCPs have also done internships surrounding the idea of hand-over-hand assistance alongside adaptive equipment. Many fall into the category of Pre-OT internships where they focus on a combination of eating utensils that allow for better function and working with the resident through hand-over-hand assistance to improve mealtime experiences. It is amazing to see the results of increased independence for the residents, bringing each of them a greater sense of purpose, engagement, and satisfaction in life. 

hand-over-hand assistance

"When I was a Direct Care Professional in college, I worked really hard to engage one of my residents in fun activities," said ACR's Marketing Manager, Brianna Palkki. "It was always a struggle to find something my resident liked though," she continued. "I found a keyboard tucked away in the home and because I'm a musician, I decided to set it up and play piano with my resident. Instead of rolling his wheelchair away, it was the first time he rolled it toward me and began putting his hands over mine as I played. That was my single most successful moment as a Direct Care Professional because I was able to share something with a resident that I was excited about, and found that he was excited too. From that moment on, I encouraged him to play and guided his hands over the keys while working shifts. To me, that moment highlights the significant impact hand-over-hand assistance can play in someone's life."


Whether it is a daily function or a fun activity, hand-over-hand assistance is a powerful technique that encourages independence. Direct Care Professionals are trained and encouraged to do this, while respecting the wishes of the individual resident at ACR Homes.