I visited one of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s female later life wards last week, to meet with service users and staff members during Occupational Therapy Week 2015, a national awareness week set up to promote what the profession is and how it helps people in recovery. I was able to see first-hand how Occupational Therapy is delivered at North Manchester Hospital and the important role Occupational Therapy plays when treating service users with a mental health diagnosis.
I was very impressed with the innovative programmes, such as ‘Sonas’ which were being provided by the Occupational Therapists at North Manchester. It was lovely to see the response from the patients who really seemed to be enjoying themselves. In spite of the real pressures facing the NHS, the Occupational Therapy team epitomised how quality care could be delivered, preparing patients for their return home.
Maple Ward is one of two later life inpatient wards at the Trust and based at North Manchester General Hospital and consists of an experienced team of nursing staff and occupational therapists.
Helen Corey, one of the Occupational Therapists who arranged the visit was pleased to show me all the great work that is done on the ward. She said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to have Debbie with us
today to promote our profession. It’s been really inspiring demonstrating how we are able to help people lead more independent and rewarding lives.”
Maple Ward Occupational Therapist Lesley Thompson explained more about how the role is an important one when working with older age service users who have mental ill health: “Each service user will be assessed for their own individual needs whilst an inpatient and the ward staff work closely with community teams upon discharge should further support be required. As Occupational Therapists, we provide assessment of their daily living skills, working closely with the service user to address occupational barriers that arise as a result of physical or mental illness. When an illness stops you from doing activity such as getting dressed, using the toilet, working or shopping, this affects your health and wellbeing. We work with patients to find different ways of carrying out activities to help them live life their way.”
Occupational therapists help people who are ill, disabled or feeling the effects of ageing to do the things that are important to them – such as preparing a meal, returning to work, or doing a favourite pastime. There are over 30,000 qualified occupational therapists in the UK.
Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists, the professional body for occupational therapists said:
“On a daily basis, we are inspired by how occupational therapy touches people’s lives. When I hear a mum say, my occupational therapist has made it possible for my child, who is in wheelchair, to go the local school, or a father with depression feeling proud that he can work and support his family. I know our profession is making a difference. If you or if you know anyone is finding their condition is making it hard to do what they want to do, ask your GP or social services to refer you to an occupational therapist.“