National Occupational Therapy Week 2020

St Jude’s Health Care Services celebrated National Occupational Week 2020 last week with a morning tea, shared between our staff, Occupational Therapists from other disciplines and current students.

The theme this year was resilience and not only shines a spotlight on the value of occupational therapy in our communities, but also serves as a call to arms to support those hardest hit. In supporting people to participate in activities they find meaningful, occupational therapists are vital in helping our communities through disaster recovery. As disaster survivors reengage in disrupted occupations (such as daily routines, activities and employment), they can better cope with stress and be supported through their recovery.

Our Occupational Therapists were joined by a St Jude’s client, Brett, who spoke and gave insight into working in the Disability sector, the benefits of Occupational Therapy beyond functional assessments and working with children. We are excited to share some of the main takeaways from each speaker as it was a very informative, insightful morning. 

Amy – Senior Occupational Therapist

In addition to completing Functional Capacity Assessments and ongoing Occupational Therapy services for clients, Amy supports individuals in the trial of recommended assistive equipment and technology that promotes clients achieving greater independent in their day to day life. This can include items such as lift chairs, wheelchairs, shower commodes and mobility scooters.  Amy will then support clients with applying for funding to purchase necessary items through the NDIS. 

Amy also spoke about the power of ensuring the families and other support providers of the client keep in close communication, to ensure all recommendations and skills can be practised outside of our appointments.

Tessa – Occupational Therapist

Tessa came to St Jude’s having previously worked in a hospital setting, with disability being a brand new space for her. Tessa has come to thoroughly enjoy working in this sector, with the main benefits being:

  • Building long term relationships with clients who require ongoing support,  instead of the ‘in and out’ nature of clients in the hospital setting
  • Working with a more diverse range of clients, presenting a greater learning opportunity given the individual nature of each client
  • Psychosocial disability – never had Tessa thought this is a space that she would work in, but it’s been an insightful and rewarding journey learning how to engage and work with these clients.

Chenae – Occupational Therapist

Chenae has a wealth of experience working with children and shared some fantastic pointers to maximise the engagement of receptiveness of children during appointments. Some of the takeaways included:

  • Take the time to learn about the child first. Knowing their interests and hobbies can then be used to engage the child and keep their attention during appointments
  • Don’t be afraid to be silly! Children learn best through play and are more likely to engage if the session is fun
  • When speaking to the parents or representatives of the child, do this in a separate room. It’s not nice to hear others speaking about us, particularly when discussing challenges, and children can pick up on this. 

Brett – Occupational Therapy Client

Brett has been a client with St Jude’s for a number of years and spoke about his experience working alongside Amy. Brett has interests in cooking and supporting other people with disability, of which he has been able to do for other St Jude’s clients.

Brett left us all feeling inspired, leaving us with a great takeaway message:

‘It’s not what you are, it’s who you are. I am disabled, but I am still abled.’

We would like to thank all those who attended our morning tea and hope you found it as valuable and insightful as we did.