NHS Leeds CCG Occupational Therapy Team

Occupational therapists wearing masks while taking a selfieThe Occupational Therapy Team has carried on from Day 1 of this crisis with ‘business as usual’ hats on.  They have needed to change and adapt their practice but have done so by continually supporting one another throughout the pandemic.

Continuing Care patients are highly vulnerable and complex with ongoing needs, their disease progression has not stopped during the pandemic so it was not possible to ‘pause’ the input required as problems have continued to arise needing a prompt response.

The role of the co-ordinator has expanded with one of the team working from home in a shielded household; this has meant triaging their referrals and providing vital support to the rest of the team.

The team have worked alongside the neighbourhood teams even more closely than normal; providing support with patients that have CHC or FTSK funding – proving that integration and shared working achieves the best outcomes for the individual.

They have all become self-taught PPE donning and doffing experts as they always need to be within 2 metres of their patients to complete the role. They have also learnt new ways of completing patient assessments when access has been denied for shielding reasons using Skype or video calls and have become a ‘jack of all trades’, as many of our skilled representatives from local equipment companies have been furloughed.

Specialist occupational therapist, Sally Hastings, said “We have worked tirelessly to reduce the patients on the waiting list and as soon as the patient or nursing/residential homes have allowed staff into the property then we have been involved.

“We have built even closer relationships with colleagues outside the team through integrated working – something we have always done, which now seems all the more pertinent for the benefit of the patients and their families.”