The chief executive of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) said she is ‘more confident than ever’ of the vital role occupational therapists have to play in healthcare.
Julia Scott’s comments came after a visit to Livewell Southwest, a social enterprise which provides community health and care services in Plymouth.
Julia, chief executive of RCOT spent the day with occupational therapists from across the organisation and at University Hospitals Plymouth to celebrate how they are making a difference to the lives of others through their work.
She was invited by Sarah Prideaux, an occupational therapist and manager of the Community Crisis Response team at Livewell.
Julia had included the team’s work as a positive example of how occupational therapists are based placed to help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan in RCOT’s response to the plan.
Sarah wanted to showcase other examples of the good work occupational therapists across Plymouth are doing.
As part of her visit, Julia met with the Rapid Response Team at University Hospitals Plymouth before spending the afternoon with occupational therapists in Livewell over a tables, talk and lunch event followed by a question and answer session.
In the morning, some staff were also able to take part in a reablement session thanks to Handicare who sponsored the event.
Julia heard from occupational therapists working across different teams including those based on Edgcumbe, Livewell’s specialist mental health unit for people at the most vulnerable stages of dementia or cognitive impairment.
As part of their work, the occupational therapists get patients and their families to create electronic memory boxes filled with photos, music and other trinkets to help them during their stay.
Thanks to donations, the ward has also purchased a robotic cat, known to be therapeutic for patients.
The cat moves and purrs and provides comfort for many of the patients on the ward who have fond memories of owning a cat.
Julia was also able to meet with occupational therapists from the Single Point of Access team, community teams and Glenbourne, the inpatient metal health unit before taking part on a questions and answer session covering shared skills, data and the role OTs have to play in the prevention agenda.
Julia said: “It was both a pleasure and a delight to visit Livewell and meet occupational therapists from across the services, as well as those working in front-line multidisciplinary teams at Derriford hospital.
“The visit clearly demonstrated the valuable role occupational therapists can play in both enabling people to stay at home, or be more speedily and safely discharged.
“For those present, including myself, the day allowed time to network with colleagues from other parts of the region, ask questions and raise awareness of the wide range of occupational therapy services on offer to residents.
“My thanks go to all who took the time to meet and speak to me and Sarah Prideaux for organising such an interesting day. Having seen the work underway at Livewell, I am more confident than ever that occupational therapists have a vital role to play within the new health and care landscape.”
Sarah added: “We have so many fantastic occupational therapists working across different teams in Livewell and at University Hospitals Plymouth and it was a pleasure to be able to showcase some of that to Julia.
“The day was a real celebration of the hard work and skills of our occupational therapists and their dedication to ensuring they are best placed to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.
“We’re really grateful to Julia for visiting and for sharing her insight with us particularly around raising the profile of our profession and how we can work with those who are well to prevent them becoming unwell which ties in with the work we are doing as an organisation.
“It was a brilliant day and I think we were all able to learn a lot not only from Julia but each other as well.”