As part of Occupational Therapy Week 2018, Trinity’s team is here to tell you five things you probably don’t know about Occupational Therapy.

Koren and Barbara work with patients across our whole catchment area and Rosalind is the Occupational Therapist in our Team around the Patient for those we support in Kensington and Chelsea. They’re busting some myths and hoping to make people think differently about the amazing work they do every day.

 

Occupational Therapists focus on overall wellbeing, mental and physical.

Koren: “We are one of the only professions who receive dual training in order for our therapeutic practice to promote the wellbeing of individuals with physical or psychological needs.” 

Rosalind: “Another surprise is how we use activities to improve wellbeing. Occupational Therapists are skilled in activity analysis and adapting tasks to enable people to maximise their function and independence.” 

 

Occupational Therapists work across lots of different services (and are involved in everything we do at Trinity!)

Barbara: “People are often surprised to hear that there is a role for an OT at all outside of the hospice, but we discharge approximately 40% of our patients. I’ve worked at Trinity for over 17 years and I particularly enjoy working with patients in the community.” 

Koren: “People might also not expect to learn that a palliative diagnosis does not necessarily result in a person being unable to engage in their daily tasks. With appropriate therapeutic intervention such as equipment and strategies, individuals can be enabled to continue to perform and participate in their important daily activities.”

Rosalind: “Occupational Therapy is often confused with Occupational Health and, although some Occupational Therapists do work in Occupational Health, the two things are very different.” 

 

It includes much more than just ordering equipment and arranging activities.

Barbara: “People often see the end result, for instance the equipment we might recommend, and not the process of assessment and discussion with the patient and their family which takes place in order to find an acceptable solution to an individual’s difficulties. People often think of OT’s doing diversional activities such as basket weaving, but these activities can in fact be very therapeutic if done with specific goals in mind.” 

Rosalind: “As an Occupational Therapist I work with people to facilitate and enable them to do the things that are meaningful and important to improve quality of life. Seeing someone achieve something that they didn’t think was possible is always a wonderful and rewarding moment. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life which bring the most joy. I will never forget enabling a lady to put her slippers on for the first time in over 36 years and the tears of joy on her face to not be dependent on others.” 

 

They are a massive part of patients’ lives and are involved from beginning to end.

Koren: “I feel that most people do not know that Occupational Therapists exist! The traditional misconception is that we only perform group activities and the new misconception is that we are discharge planners!” 

Rosalind: “Occupational Therapy becomes a way of thinking and a way of life and is so much more than a job. No two days are ever the same and no two people are ever the same. It is a real privilege to work with patients and their families and together, to make a difference.” 

Barbara: “I see my role as a problem solver, helping patients and their family achieve the goals which are most important to them, which often means returning or remaining at home and living their life despite limitations.” 

Occupational Therapy at Trinity is one of a kind!

Rosalind: “I have been really fortunate to join Trinity at the time of a pilot called TAP (Team around the Patient). We are a fully integrated multi-disciplinary team with a shared caseload. This allows for a more seamless service where we can respond quickly and efficiently to someone’s changing needs. I really enjoy learning and working closely with such skilled colleagues whilst being able to apply and share my skills.” 

Barbara: “At Royal Trinity Hospice we really have the opportunity to use our full skillset to consider the patient and their family in a truly holistic manner. I can take the time to get to know the patient and work with them to find acceptable individualised solutions to the difficulties they may have.” 

Koren: “I have so many wonderful memories of the patients and their families who I have had the privilege to meet. My main role is on the inpatient unit and I experience happiness every time I enable a person to return to their home. Recently I started a therapeutic garden group and witnessing and hearing the joy this group provides to patients is incredibly rewarding. You should see their smiles!”