Hear about the “life-changing” work of our Occupational Therapy team

Published: Friday, November 11, 2022

Wandsworth Council is supporting Occupational Therapy Week by raising awareness of the vital work that all our Occupational Therapists do.

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Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Graeme Henderson has thanked our hugely dedicated team of Occupational Therapists for:

  • working tirelessly to clear the backlog of Occupational Therapy assessments, ahead of schedule, built up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • being our unsung heroes with the work they do, described by one resident as “life-changing”.
  • their incredible work supporting residents, week-in, week-out, across the whole borough during the pandemic, as referrals increased by nearly 300%.

Get involved with the campaign, on social media.

Occupational Therapy Week, which runs from Monday 7 November to Sunday 13 November is all about highlighting the vital work that people who work in this field do and this year is themed around “Lift Up Your Everyday”.

Here are just some of the stories about the huge difference that the team made to residents’ lives, 

  • Mrs E, 79, a full-time wheelchair user with dementia, was unable to access most of her home, including the bathroom, and regularly missed important hospital appointments as she was unable to get in and out of the flat easily.

    The Occupational Therapy team arranged for Mrs E, and her family, to move to a wheelchair-accessible property, with space for the whole family; described by Mrs E’s daughter as “life-changing”.

  • Following a stroke Mr B, 88, was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t get out of his home during the pandemic, having a huge effect on his mental health and well-being. The Occupational Therapy team arranged for a wheelchair ramp to be installed, as well as a hoist to get him in and out of bed, completely transforming his situation.

  • Ms P, 67, struggled with osteoarthritis, diabetes and asthma, meaning that she had difficulty using her bath and toilet safely. The Occupational Therapy team identified the need for a stair lift and a level access shower, which made a huge difference to her sense of independence, dignity, and well-being.

Before the pandemic, the team dealt with more than 500 referrals from 2019 to 2020, which increased to nearly 2,000 referrals from 2021 to 2022.

Service improvements, including better processes and use of data, along with bringing an external provider on board meant that the team was able to clear the backlog that built up, due to the unprecedented demand resulting from the pandemic – and impressively, ahead of schedule.

From April to September 2021 nearly 600 assessments were completed, whilst from April to September 2022 nearly 700 assessments were completed.

“It’s great to hear about how our Occupational Therapy team make such a huge difference to people’s lives,” said Councillor Graeme Henderson, Cabinet member for adult care and health.

“I had the privilege of meeting some of the team earlier this week, and it was truly inspiring to hear how about everything they do and how they support residents to live truly independent lives.

“What they do has a massively positive impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing, in the face of the hugely detrimental effect caused by the pandemic.”

To read more about this work, download the papers from the Council’s Health Committee 
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Occupational therapists support those who need help the most.

They help

  • residents, especially older people to live independent lives with practical, realistic goals, personal to them as an individual, helping them achieve the breakthroughs needed to “Lift up your everyday”
  • the most vulnerable - from those with learning disabilities to people with mental health problems - to get the support they need to live at home
  • people to overcome challenges they face, by creating a plan of goals and adjustments, targeted at achieving a specific set of activities.

If you are interested in a hugely rewarding career, where you get to help people day-in, and day out and make a huge difference to their quality of life, visit the NHS website to find out more.