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Occupational Therapist

"The greatest benefit to the patient is a holistic assessment done to them accurately in a shorter time frame these days." 

Lee Christie

Occupational Therapy changes I guess from setting to setting, but in a nutshell what we’re doing is making sure that a person is able to function appropriately and safely when they go home from hospital. So, in a way, we’re functional therapists and making sure that a patient is safe to lead a normal and happy life when they go home.

For those patients who need ongoing support and a little bit more complex, yes we will see the patient in their home and do an appropriate assessment, again, to make sure they’re safe and can lead a normal and happy life when they’re at home.

A simple example I guess, but someone getting on and off the toilet can be quite difficult at times.  Especially if the seat is low and there’s nothing to hold on to.  So simply a frame or a raised seat on the toilet to help them get up.  You can imagine their quality of life improves a great deal when they can actually get on and off the loo and what that can do for them.

The Rapid Recovery Programme, people having hip precautions, because of their hip operation meaning they can’t bend their hip past 90 degrees, functionally that means they can’t put their wrist past their knee.  For these patients, how would they possibly put their socks or shoes on, or put on their underwear, if they can’t reach past their leg?  So we’re giving them equipment which enables them to do this independently and not have to rely on someone else to do something like this.

The greatest benefit to the patient is a holistic assessment done to them accurately in a shorter time frame these days.  So they’re still getting equal opportunities, they’re still getting the equal amount of support and input from the occupational therapist on the ward, they’re simply spending less time in the ward.

The greatest challenge is obviously change.  So changing systems, changing ideas, this is for therapists, this is for patients, and this if for the collective MDT so the Multi-Disciplinary Team, so changing practice, it’s very difficult.

The advantages and what we’ve done well is communication.  That’s one big positive that has come out of this Rapid Recovery Programme is communication with the different therapists, so the physiotherapists, the anaesthetists, the consultant surgeons, the nurses, the recovery nurses; so communication between all members of the team has enabled us to make these changes that we needed to, to the programme.  And in a way it’s given us a voice, a voice to say exactly what’s difficult for us.

Teamwork is fundamental to what we’ve done so far, and again I’ll say, teamwork in amongst ourselves as occupational therapists, in amongst our therapy group and collectively amongst the hospital group.  It is the key to our success so far in the development of this Rapid Recovery Programme

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