OT Week 2019 – Somerset’s Small Change Big Impact Stories

Senior women giving each other high five

It’s Occupational Therapy Week (4-10 November), and we’re celebrating the small changes occupational therapists make that have a big impact on the people they support.

Here are some of our OT stories from Somerset about the impactful changes they make every day…

Bob

What was the challenge?

Bob was living on his own with a single carer coming in 3 times daily to assist with personal care and transfers. He was struggling with variable transfer ability between bed / chair and wheelchair. The care agency were advising that he required two carers per visit and they were unable to meet this need due to low carer capacity in his rural location. Without this care in place, Bob may have needed to move to a residential care home.

 What did you change?

I worked with Bob to assess his transfers and identify two pieces of transfer equipment which could be used depending on his ability at the time – a transfer board with integral slide sheet and a wheeled transfer platform. Both of these pieces of equipment could be used with a single-carer

What impact did you make?

Bob’s physical abilities were maintained by maintaining a physical element to his transfers, reducing the pace of potential future deterioration. He could remain in his own home with his current level of support in place and felt more able to actively participate in his care routine, improving his self-esteem, confidence and mood. There was also a cost-prevention in care of nearly £12 000 per year.

Small Change, Big Impact

We’re celebrating the small changes occupational therapists make that have a big impact on the people they support. Here are some of our Occupational Therapists stories about the impactful changes they make every day

Ellen

What was the challenge?

Ellen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and only able to move her neck slightly. She was reliant on carers for all of her care needs, however was struggling with pain and discomfort during the night due to her static position. She did not want to wake her carers to re-position her during the night.

 What did you change?

I actioned a referral to District Nursing colleagues, requesting assessment for a Toto – an inflatable turning system which fitted under her mattress and turned her gently from side-to-side during the night.

 What impact did you make?

Ellen had her first full night’s sleep in 3 years. Her improved sleep pattern also had a positive effect on her mood, appetite and willingness to engage socially, improving her quality of life overall.

Marie

What was the challenge?

Marie was diagnosed with a progressive neurological condition and struggling with postural control in her armchair. She had lost most of her neck control and her head was therefore flexed forwards, impeding her breathing, swallowing and social interaction, as she could not make eye-contact. All of these were heavily impacting on communication with her husband, who was her main carer.

 What did you change?

I assessed her for a tilt-in-space chair with postural support and an appropriate head rest to support her head in mid-line – funded by SCC. The same was duplicated for a privately purchased wheelchair.

What impact did you make?

The head rest in combination with the tilt-in-space function of the chairs, improved her breathing and eating, both impacting significantly on her overall physical health. However, the biggest impact was her improved social interaction, increasing her involvement with her family and community and greatly improving her mood and quality of life.

Somerset Community Connect is a website that gives people information and advice about care and support services and local groups in Somerset.  Go to https://www.somersetcommunityconnect.org.uk/

Submitted by Adult Social Care Learning and Development