Masking Tape : An Occupational Therapists best friend

Rethink OT Podcast

Transcript of Episode

At the end of the next 4 minutes, I am going to share with you a HUGE secret that will lead to GREAT outcomes! If you are struggling to use the equipment in your gyms and running out of ideas, this secret is going to CHANGE YOUR LIFE!! 

But…before we get to that, Let’s take a moment to give masking tape the fanfare it deserves. As a neurocentric OT, I use masking tape for everything!!! In fact, if you were to walk into my outpatient clinic, you aren’t going to find many pieces of equipment, props, or accessory items. My equipment closet is the most random compilation of tools you will find- but I’ll tell you more about that on another call. You will, however, immediately be met with a visual of tape. Tape on the floor, tape on the aerobic steps, and tape on the wall. All in various patterns, directions, colors, and lengths. 

So aside from sharing a HUGE secret with you in just 2 minutes from now, I’m also going to give you 5 ways you can use painter’s tape in any place of service with adults! 

  1. 4 small pieces placed on the wall to depict the 4 corners of a square (high or low) 
    1. You can work on weight shift, bilateral upper/lower body strengthening, core strengthening, postural support, vestibular training/gaze shifting, etc. 
  2. Tandem line 
    1. The tandem line is so important -especially for older adults! This training can reduce the trunk-tilt, correct center of mass displacement, improve medial-lateral feet distance, and decrease the frequency of stepping error. 
  3. Ambulation line/distance 
    1. Visual reference point to maintain a typical foot distance, consistency, measurable, motivation, not to mention great for conducting assessments like functional reach tests and the TUG!
  4. Two parallel strips indicating narrow BOS to a wide BOS
    1. Did you know to move from a narrow BOS to a wide BOS is beneficial for balance, coordination, agility, and gross strengthening? It really is awesome! 
  5. Finally “x” marks the spot! Create targets for UE and LE activities. 
    1. You don’t need cones or flags or any other thing to act as a target for a variety of exercises. All you need is some tape. I’d say that’s pretty economical- wouldn’t you?

As occupational therapy practitioners in school, we are drawn to tools and color! We grown accustomed to having a variety of “things” we can use to create the perfect activity. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t like this….there aren’t always a ton of props to use or lean on for therapy treatment ideas. Not only this but as OTPs we should be using equipment that is cheap and easy to replicate in the home to promote carryover! Not many patients have a stack of cones or a range of motion arc at home….would you agree? Haha I know you would 🙂 

All this being said, you have arrived at the BIG SECRET!!! The secret to good outcomes and unlimited treatment possibilities is “Your client is the means and ends of effective therapy treatments.” USE your clients!!! All you need is there bodies in motion to enhance performance!! Be careful not to get so lost in the activity or craft you are doing that you forget to address that person’s current or future deficits! It is very possible to witness your client achieve phenomenal outcomes with only a roll of painter’s tape and the proper knowledge of how to use it!!