Occupational therapists (OTs) help people to engage in the everyday occupations that make up life. Our philosophy is to set goals collaboratively with our patients and to use meaningful occupation as a medium to help our patients to resume the lives they had before encountering illness and disability. The main goal of most of our patients is to return home. Typically, we facilitate our patients to do this by helping them return to baseline function in areas such as washing and dressing, toileting, meal preparation, mobility and transfers. We treat the whole person. This means we are concerned with the persons physical, cognitive, social and psychological functioning as well as the contexts their occupations occur in, be that in hospital, at home, the community or in a residential facility. Sometimes we conduct home visits and prescribe aids to help patients be more independent at home. We also collaborate with the patient’s caregivers, the broader multiple disciplinary team and community services to ensure the best results for our patients. The Mercy university Hospital is an acute hospital. Most of our patients are in the over 65 age group. The main focus of our service is safe discharge to home. We work with the patient, their families and the broader MDT to achieve this. Specific services we provide include but are not limited to:
- Cognitive and perceptual assessment
- Upper limb assessment and treatment
- Functional assessment. For example, we assess a person’s ability to wash and dress themselves, to prepare a meal, to purchase an item in the shop or complete housework. We look at what is important for the person to be able to do at home and work with them to improve their performance in these areas.
- Wheelchair assessment and provision
- Complex seating assessment, postural management and provision of high support chairs and bed positioning systems
- Pressure care assessment and provision of pressure relieving cushions
- Outpatient rehabilitation of amputees
- Assessment and provision of aids for home
- Splinting of some hand conditions
- Home visits
- Group interventions for people with dementia and cognitive impairment
- Referral to community services and voluntary organisations
- Signposting of valuable services to patients and their families Our service has expanded and developed over the last number of years. We recently redeveloped our OT kitchen. This has allowed us to provide far more comprehensive assessments and interventions to our patients and to improve the quality of our patient’s experience. Our current staffing level is 10.5 WTE OT. OTs are based in the following areas in MUH.
All OTs in the acute hospital take referrals from consultants on the acute wards. We try to allocate OTs to specific wards in order to provide a consistent service.
Older adults service
St Marys ward has a dedicated senior OT. This OT works in collaboration with the care of older adults multidisciplinary team to provide a comprehensive OT assessment and intervention.
St Francis Unit (SFU)
We have one senior OT working in St Francis unit who works to reenable older adults in activities of daily living before they return to home.
Acute stroke unit
We have .5WTE Senior OT working in this area. This OT works to assess and treat patients who have had an acute stroke. The OT usually assesses the patients cognitive, perceptual and physical functioning. The OT works collaboratively with the physiotherapist and the other MDT members to provide intervention. The Senior OT in this area also provides a limited out-patient neurology service.
Prosthetic Orthotic Limb Absence Rehabilitation (POLAR)
We have a .5 Senior OT in this out-patient service. The OT works to rehabilitate patients who have had amputations. Some of the modalities involved include goal setting, wheelchair skills, prosthetic doffing and donning and skin care. Strong links have also been forged with the NRH in recent times which has facilitated greater sharing of knowledge and clinical practice skills.
Frailty intervention team (FIT)
We currently have one Senior OT in this area. This therapist meets over 65 frail older adults in the emergency department. The primary roles of this therapist are assessment, admission avoidance and streaming the patient to the correct services should they require admission to the acute wards in MUH.
Following the COVID 19 pandemic it became evident that we required a dedicated ICU service. We currently have a .5 senior OT in this area who provides OT interventions to patients in the hyper-acute phase.
Regional specialist memory clinic
This service is due to start in early 2023. It aims to provide an enhanced assessment service for patients with complex or uncertain presentations of dementia, under the clinical governance of a Consultant Geriatrician. This will be an out-patient service and will comprise a senior occupational therapist.