How occupational therapy helps patients

Posted on Mon, 15/10/2018 by Felicity Andrews, occupational therapist

Felicity Andrews

To celebrate Allied Health Professionals Day Felicity Andrews, an Occupational Therapist, tells us a bit about her role at QE Gateshead.

Being admitted to hospital can be a frightening experience for many patients and their families which can leave them feeling anxious and concerned as to how they will manage everyday tasks at home.

When someone becomes unwell their ability to function independently can sometimes be reduced -  for some patients it may only be a temporary reduction but for others it can be long term. After any period of rehabilitation in hospital it’s important for people to remain as independent as possible in their own home once they’ve been discharged.

Remaining independent is much more than being able to physically complete tasks, it is intrinsically linked with health, wellbeing and their quality of life. We all take it for granted that we can do things like wash our hair, make our lunch or stand up and sit down from a chair, but have you ever considered how you would be able to do these tasks if you could no longer manage them by yourself? This is where I can help!

I’m a newly qualified occupational therapist based within the medicine and surgery team and this is my first job. I feel very privileged to have been given the chance to deliver the occupational therapy service on ward 2 of the hospital which is the short stay unit.

Patients generally stay on this ward for a maximum of 72 hours before either being admitted further into the hospital or discharged home. This makes ward 2 an exceptionally fast paced environment to work in. As an occupational therapist I assess the needs of the individual considering their lifestyle, the environment they live in and the tasks they want to be able to complete. This ensures that I can deliver a truly holistic therapeutic service.

As a result of this I can provide patients with the equipment that would help them once they get home. It’s thinking about the sort of things that would enable you to sit down and stand up from your chair, getting the support you may need to wash your hair or arranging for your lunch to be delivered to you pre-made and ready for you to heat up.

As an occupational therapist I can offer patients and their families the chance to leave hospital feeling supported and confident in managing the challenges that daily life brings. I can also support and facilitate timely discharges which, as the NHS faces greater pressure, has become more important to us and the patients we treat.  

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