26th October 2012 – Occupational therapists hold key to smoother recovery

Posted on October 26, 2012 by AireAdmin

Occupational therapists at Airedale Hospital are opening up their ‘independent living flat’ to visitors which is designed to make sure patients can cope when they return home.

The flat is used primarily to assess patients to make sure they can cope with daily tasks before they are discharged home from hospital. Patients can spend some time in the flat to simulate what it will be like for them when they return home.

It is based on ward 4 of Airedale Hospital and will be open to health and social care professionals, patients, carers and members of the public on Thursday 8 November, between 10 am and 3pm, as part of national Occupational Therapy Week.

During the open event, occupational therapy staff will be available to talk about how they assess and treat patients in the flat with activities such as making meals and hot drinks and getting washed and dressed.

Inside the flat there will be a range of aids on display such as tools to help patients dress, specially adapted kitchen equipment and a selection of telecare products used to keep people safe in their own homes.  There will also be larger items such as toileting aids, adapted trolleys and special seats.

There will also be more displays outside the flat including tools used to assess patients with cognitive difficulties and dementia, a demonstration of custom-made splinting used in the treatment of a range of conditions including stroke and arthritis and information about occupational therapy as a profession and how they can help people get the most from life.

Mary Dickinson, principal occupational therapist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The aims of the event are to help people learn more about what occupational therapists do and promote the unique role of the profession in helping people to be as independent as possible.”

“There is often much more to a hospital discharge than simply being medically fit and by opening the Independent Living Flat we want to show people how occupational therapists help people to return home from hospital safely and manage to continue living successfully at home during their period of recovery or coping with ongoing disabilities.”

Occupational therapists have dual training in both mental and physical health and this is reflected in their holistic approach to rehabilitation.

Deborah Nice, occupational therapist, at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: We focus on wellbeing, helping people to get back to their daily activities and routines or return to work.  This could involve helping them to regain skills or teaching them new ones, suggesting coping strategies, identifying hazards, getting equipment or adaptations to make life safer and easier, teaching strategies to protect arthritic joints or manage memory problems, motivating people and helping them to regain lost confidence.”

Patients can be seen while they are in the hospital but also at home and in other community settings. Find out more about Occupational Therapy Week at: http://www.cot.co.uk/ot-week

If you are in hospital you can ask to see an occupational therapist, alternatively you can contact your GP or social services department of your local council for a referral.

Some of the things an occupational therapist can help you with are:

  • Develop strategies to boost your confidence so that you feel more comfortable in social situations and make new friends
  • Help you to identify hazards at home
  • Enable you to build your strength and stamina and improve your balance
  • Explain how your memory is functioning and work with you and your family to devise strategies to remember your daily routine
  • Show you gadgets that can make tasks easier
  • Help people to get back to work by negotiating a change of hours with an employer or coming up with a plan to manage fatigue