We have a fantastic Occupational Therapy (OT) team at Bron Afon, working with customers to help them live well in their homes and communities. In this short blog, one of our Occupational Therapists, Karen Robertson-Burge, shares the story of a customer, who lost, and with a little help from us, regained her occupations.
”In simple terms, occupations are the meaningful activities we carry out each day. They can include self-care routines, such as eating well, sleeping well, resting when needed and exercising, IT can mean connecting with people, pets, hobbies, and anything we enjoy doing.
“But what if you were unable to participate in the occupations you choose? “I worked with a customer for over four years. She had gone from being able to walk short distances with a walking frame, to eventually needing a powered wheelchair to move around independently. She needed a hoist to move from one position to another. Slowly over these years, the occupations she could once achieve were slowly fading away.
“Picture if you can: you walk into your kitchen, go to the sink, reach to the tap and pour yourself a glass of water or fill up your kettle. You move around the kitchen to get food from the fridge, which you then prepare on your worktop. You grab a plate from a wall cupboard, put your food on it, and go and sit somewhere to eat it. Easy, right? Well, our customer could no longer do any of this, as her kitchen was completely inaccessible for her. No space to move around in the wheelchair. Not able to reach the taps. Not able to reach into wall or base cupboards. Not able to place herself directly in front of a worktop to make herself a snack.
“All occupations you could complete within the kitchen environment had vanished for this customer. She was incredibly low in mood and frustrated with herself and her home environment.
“My assessment focused on the occupations and activities that the customer wanted to achieve. For her, being able to make of cup of tea was high on the list. She did not want to be dependent on others to complete tasks she knew she could do if she was in the correct environment. I focused on her movements when she was sat in her wheelchair, how far could she reach, did she have sufficient strength to pick up items from a wall cupboard or base unit, what space did she need to prepare food.
“The outcome was we knew this customer needed a wheelchair accessible kitchen. She was fully involved in the design process, so we could make sure the features would enable her to complete her occupations safely and independently.
“The customer’s reaction to the completed work was wonderful. She told us, “I feel I’ve got my independence back, thank you very much” and that, “I now have a reason to wake up in the mornings.”
“Occupations matter. Occupations give us purpose. Occupations make our days meaningful and it’s why I love the work I do.”