Celebrating Occupational Therapy Week 2 - 9 November

4 November 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council is marking National Occupational Therapy Week by celebrating the diverse work of its Occupational Therapists (OTs).
Throughout the week the Council will be sharing the real-life stories of OTs who work with children and their families, adults with disabilities or injuries and older people both in the community and in hospitals.  
Cllr Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “We’re incredibly proud of the work of our OTs.  Across the borough they are providing support to people whose health prevents them doing the activities that matter to them.  Our OTs focus on every day activities to help people develop, recover and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. 
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our OTs have adapted the way they support some of the most vulnerable people in our community, embracing new technologies and continuing to visit face to face where necessary. Despite the disruptions to large parts of daily lives recently, the service did not stop. 
“OT week gives us the chance to celebrate the work we do and gives us the opportunity to say a big public thank you to all our OTs.” 
Occupational Therapists work in a variety of settings to help people remain at home or to support them return home following a respite or hospital stay.
In the community-based social care services the mixed team of OTs, social workers and social care assessors put the person at the centre of their assessment.  As a team they find out what the people they work with want to achieve along their journey to maximise independence, and ultimately, help them get back to the function they had previously. 
They are flexible in their approach; each assessment being tailored to what the person needs, where and when they need it. An approach known as ‘OT first’ ensures that people remain as independent as possible by getting support right from the start. 
Sarah Jane is a manager in the Home Assessment Team whose OTs support people leaving hospital.  She says, “People think of occupational therapy as relating to jobs, but actually it’s more helpful to see it as supporting those activities which ‘occupy’ us in our daily lives ; this could be anything from getting out of bed comfortably, getting the children to school on time, or walking the dog. In essence, it is what is meaningful to a person both functionally and for their wellbeing.”  
The Council’s OTs work closely with health and housing colleagues to provide equipment and adaptations to support children and adults to maximise independence.    In some instances, the person might be eligible for support with major adaptations such as a through-floor lift allowing a person who is a wheelchair user to be able to get upstairs and continue to take part in family life, or a level access shower to replace the bath to enable access to bathing facilities; very often, small changes can have a big impact and more basic equipment such as handrails or toilet or bathing equipment can dramatically improve life at home.
To read the OT stories visit Inspire Cheshire West and visit Cheshire West and Chester Council’s social media pages.

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