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Hospital trust marks occupational therapy centenary

Staff at Southampton’s university hospitals marked 100 years of developments in occupational therapy with a series of events today (Thursday).

The centenary is being celebrated as part of occupational therapy awareness week, which promotes how the profession improves the lives of patients and helps make the healthcare system more efficient.

 Members of the 65-strong OT team hosted a display at Southampton General Hospital’s main entrance which gave visitors the chance to find out more about the role and how it helps minimise the impact of disease and disability through activity.
 
They were on hand to answer questions on occupational therapy as a career choice, as well as to showcase how the service has developed and grown within University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust over the last 20 years.
 
OTs work within the trust’s therapy service and play a critical role in helping people of all ages overcome disability caused by physical or psychological illness, accidents or ageing so they can lead full and satisfying lives as independently as possible. 
 
They offer a range of specialist assessments and interventions, such as advice on activities of daily living, cognitive assessments, equipment provision to promote independence and splinting and home hazard assessments, and work closely with other clinicians to ensure appropriate support is in place for discharge.
 
With increasing pressure on hospital beds, they also play a vital role in earlier discharge for many patients and work across all departments including emergency medicine, child health, cancer care, neurology and medicine for older people.
 
Rachael Leyland, deputy professional OT lead, said: “Historically the role of an OT focused mainly on equipment provision, assessing patients only when thought to be medically fit for discharge and assisting in ongoing-care packages.
 
“As the profession has grown the role has become increasingly skilled, meaning involvement in patient care starts at an earlier stage in the clinical pathway, attention is focused around supporting patients to reach their full potential – the sooner this starts the better.”
 
She added: “The team now treat patients who are much sicker with more varied and complex needs and OTs play a key role in determining whether or not a patient needs hospital admission or could be cared for in the community setting.”
 
The team released 30 silver balloons outside the main entrance to mark the occasion and held a cake sale throughout the day to raise funds for equipment through Southampton Hospital Charity.



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