Occupational Therapist, Paula Maggs, writes some information about her role as part of Occupational Therapy Week 2017…
‘I am an Occupational Therapist’
Working with the Enhanced Primary Care Team, North Neighbourhood
What is Occupational Therapy? –
Occupational therapy provides support to people whose physical or mental health prevents them doing the activities that matter to them. Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to help people to maintain or improve their ability in carrying out everyday tasks.
These could be activities we all need to do on a daily basis such as bathing, getting in and out of bed, eating and sleeping. However, as human beings we also want and need to do certain activities such as go to work or school, communicate with others and build relationships as well as look after our families. We also want to do other more leisurely activities such as gardening, cooking, relaxing and engaging in other hobbies.
All these activities occupy our time and contribute to our health and wellbeing. However, for many reasons we don’t always have, or we can lose the ability to perform activities that we need or want to do to function and live as independently as possible. This is where an occupational therapist works with the patient in setting achievable goals to help restore or maintain a healthy occupational balance in both physical and mental health.
How did you become an OT?
My NHS career started off in 2005 in administration working at Community Equipment Loan Stores and then the Web Data Office. It was whilst working at the stores where I had daily contact with therapists, that I first became interested in the role of OT. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that I decided the time was right to pursue my interest in the profession so I went to university to study my degree. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists are keen to encourage students of all ages to consider OT as a career and this was evident at university where my cohort included a diverse age group of students.
Being in the later years of my working life and therefore having many life experiences behind me definitely helps me to understand and empathise with people facing difficulties and challenges in their lives.
I qualified in July of this year therefore I’m new to the profession so I’m still learning every day. I’m fortunate to work in a knowledgeable and skilful team which gives me the opportunity to develop new skills whilst ensuring that our patients receive a quality occupational therapy service.
What is Enhanced Primary Care and where does Occupational Therapy fit?
Enhanced Primary Care is a model of care delivery which takes the multidisciplinary team approach to help people to manage their own care and live independently in their own homes and community. Working with patients of North Shore and Glenroyd GP surgeries, our team includes occupational therapy staff, community nurses and matrons, physiotherapists, health & wellbeing Support Workers, neighbourhood assistants and administration staff.
Enhanced Primary Care facilitates us, as a multidisciplinary team to treat people in the community allowing them to stay in their own homes wherever possible rather than be admitted to hospital. This care approach is both beneficial for our patients and for the trust as acute care is very costly and our hospital is extremely busy.
As occupational therapy is concerned with promoting independence, the profession fits perfectly within the Enhanced Primary Care team, not only with occupational therapy intervention but also with educating others in preventing further exacerbation of existing long-term conditions.
Enhanced Primary Care provides our patients with a dedicated local team of professionals who keep in regular contact and are well informed about their care needs. This allows the team to build a relationship with the patient making it easier to identify when other services we work closely with may be beneficial such as community mental health and voluntary services.
What is your favourite part of OT as a career?
OT is a challenging and dynamic profession and offers the opportunity to practice in physical or mental health across the lifespan from neonatal to end of life. I was drawn to the diversity of the profession and the opportunities it provides to use creative activity to help others. The job is never the same every day so it remains interesting and there are many available paths to take to develop further including specialist areas of practice.
By Paula Maggs – Occupational Therapist
For more information on Occupational Therapy as a career please visit:
For more information on Enhanced Primary Care please visit:
More information on OT: https://www.rcot.co.uk/file/1725/download?token=UBuVeMHN