Occupational therapy helps Hartlepool patients enjoy independence

A mobile hoist in operation.
A mobile hoist in operation.

People are being reminded that help is out there to help people with a range of conditions to live as normal lives as possible.

Occupational therapists in Hartlepool are promoting the work they do to help people live - not just exist.

Occupational Therapy staff member Courtney Hornsby, Ben Ingram, Clare Hinchcliffe, Sophie Gallagher, Sarah Jackson, Bev Mean, Steph Colclough, Jo Lutz, Karen Montgomory and Jackie Low.

Occupational Therapy staff member Courtney Hornsby, Ben Ingram, Clare Hinchcliffe, Sophie Gallagher, Sarah Jackson, Bev Mean, Steph Colclough, Jo Lutz, Karen Montgomory and Jackie Low.

Occupational therapy, which is part of adult and community services provided by Hartlepool Borough Council, works to help empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities that matter to them.

This week, from Monday November 5, was Occupational Therapy Week and the team in Hartlepool have been working to promote the service.

This year, the theme of the campaign is ‘Securing the future of occupational therapy’ as part of a five-year strategic plan to promote the profession.

During the week, teams have visited colleges to speak to students studying health and access courses about the career as well as staff in different health professions shadowing occupational therapists to find out more.

A walking frame being used

A walking frame being used

Kelly Phillips, an occupational therapist from Hartlepool, said: “We provide equipment to help people live independently in their day-to-day lives.

“Equipment to help people get in and out of the bath, seating assesments, chair lifts or adapting a house where a chairlift isn’t suitable as well as ramp access.”

Occupational therapists work with adults and children of all ages with a wide range of conditions including people who have difficulties due to a mental health illness, physical or learning disabilities.

The 36-year-old added: “It’s not as well known as other health professions and it’s been around for 100 years. I just don’t think people know about it.

A plate guard and enlarged cutlery for users

A plate guard and enlarged cutlery for users

“We just want people to remain safe in their own home environment so they won’t have to rely on a carer and social services. It allows them to live independently.”

Research from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists has shown that occupational therapists working on the frontline with ambulance services and in accident and emergency departments can reduce unnecessary admissions by up to 80%.

Occupational therapists on acute medical wards can cut stays from 9.5 days to just 1 day.

The team gets between 150 and 180 new cases – or referrals – each month. Most of these referrals come through the Early Intervention Team, but some come from social workers, local hospitals, GPs and the Primary Care Trust (PCT). Around 8 in every 10 of our new referrals are for people aged 80 or over.

To find out more contact 01429 523390.