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Adult occupational therapy team profile

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We continue to profile some of our excellent community teams providing in and out of hospital services to our local communities. Our community services care group had their contract renewed in October 2023, for a further five years, and we're incredibly proud of them. This week we focus on our adult occupational therapy team:

Occupational therapy supports people of all ages to overcome challenges with activities of daily living - what we call 'occupations'.

We have a number of occupational therapy teams working across care groups and specialties, providing comprehensive assessments, interventions, strategies and advice.

In this profile we are focusing on just one of these teams - the Adult Occupational Therapy team, the majority of whom work with inpatients across our three largest sites - University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital providing a seven day service.

The occupational therapists are mainly based on the wards, providing unique therapeutic assessments to a diverse range of patients who live within an extremely large geographical area.

The team carries out a detailed holistic assessment that helps to identify any areas of concern regarding occupational performance, this provides the plan for the assessments required whilst the patient is in hospital.

These assessments can include gathering information about the patient's home environment and their previous function with activities of daily living, cognitive assessments and functional assessments, for example; mobility, personal care, domestic tasks, shopping tasks, financial tasks, communications tasks and many more.

The adult occupational therapy team are an integral part of the Multi-disciplinary team with the aim of "Home First", and team discussions are an important part of the role when planning discharges from hospital.

For patients identified with complex needs the occupational therapist will visit the patient's homes to complete a more detailed assessment of the home environment and provide equipment and minor adaptations to the home, to ensure the patient can return home safely.

The occupational therapist can refer for packages of care to support the patient at home, and can refer to community teams to provide further therapy.  On some occasions major adaptations will be required or specialist equipment which will be co-ordinated by the Occupational therapist.

Our occupational therapists are highly skilled and there's no doubt their expertise helps a great many people return home safely, maximising their ability to live independently and safely.

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham