6 Nov 2017, 2:33 p.m.

It is Occupational Therapy Week between 6th - 12th November and we are taking the opportunity to promote the ways in which the OT profession improves the lives of our patients and service users.

Our OTs are working alongside colleagues across the county to promote the week in our organisation, in our community and beyond.

Juliette's Story: A day in the life of an Oncology OT

I feel lucky to work in oncology. No two patients are the same and no two patient’s disease take the same path. I came to this area by accident after many years as a clinical specialist in stroke rehabilitation, now I am a convert to the area and feel honoured to spend my days working with patients at such a turning point in their life.

The work is so varied I may being treating a brain tumour and then a pathological fracture then a spinal cord injury, meaning I have to be skilled up on many different treatment pathways. I can honestly say at least once a week there is a word I have never heard of before. All this keeps me on my toes and means every day is a day for learning. All in all though, I deal in function and regardless of cause my core OT skills of activity analysis come into play.

The best part of my job is being able to spend time with patients and see beyond their diagnosis. I am privileged to be involved with patients whom a lump they hadn’t been aware of until recently has caused a bump in the path of their life, but they will get back on track and never need to see us again. While the path is bumpy I hope I ease it a little with advice on life adaption or equipment to ease the way. I also see those patients who the pathway of life is coming to an end.

I am fortunate as an OT to see the person behind the diagnosis. With every story I listen and discuss just what we can do help make these things happen for them again in some way.

Juliette, Occupational Therapist in Oncology

I am fortunate as an OT to see the person behind the diagnosis. I hear their stories, a teacher who still remembers the student from 20 years ago whose life they changed; teaching has been their life ever since and is the essence of who they are and who they are desperate to get back to. The grandparent missing their grandchild who has been told to stay away for fear of spreading bugs when their immunity is so vulnerable. The marathon runner who finds themselves floored by treatment and is barely able to make 4 steps to the toilet.  With every story I listen and discuss just what we can do help make these things happen for them again in some way.

In the sad cases where improvement is no longer an option we rehab to an optimum to help them to achieve to achieve meaningful goals for the final part of their journey, to help them make the most of what is important to them.

Kristina's story: a day in the life of me

With a strong cup of tea to kick start the day, I’m ready to face the busy ward with numerous new patients, searching for notes and determining who needs therapy, who’s awaiting theatre, who’s medically fit and our priorities for discharge for the day.Needing to change our plans to work flexibly between washes and who has gone off for scans or to plaster room, our patient is targeted….a quick stair assessment to get out our priority discharge and our first tick is on the handover. A self-care assessment to determine rehab potential and care needs for David who has fractured his clavicle and has to wear a sling for 6 weeks. Teaching him to wash without actively moving the arm and working out the best way for him to transfer and walk when he previously walked with a frame. He doesn’t have rehab potential and will struggle at home so it’s the non-weight bearing pathway for David. Sally is palliative and 1 day post op spinal stabilisation surgery. She is worried so we take it slowly and sit her out of bed for the first time using a stand aid. She did amazingly and her confidence is boosted. A quick run to the equipment store to get some aids that were highlighted yesterday as essential for discharging Alan home. His family attend the ward and I demonstrate fitting the equipment. That’s another discharge for us. Out of my OT uniform and another varied, fast paced, challenging and exciting day done.

The Best Care For Everyone