Occupational Therapy Helps Individuals Live Life to its Fullest

Community Invited to Meet Occupational Therapists Next Week

Lobby Open House: King Edward VII Memorial Hospital- Monday, 12 April from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Lobby Open House: Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute- Monday, 12 April from 10:00am to 2:00pm

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) will join with the Bermuda Occupational Therapy Association (BOTA) next week to mark Occupational Therapy Week. Members of the public are invited to meet with Occupational Therapists (OTs) at both hospitals on 12 April to discuss specialised services that support people to live at optimum levels of independence after an accidental injury, medical illness, surgical procedure, developmental delay or mental health problem through the age spectrum.

Sita Ingram, BHB Clinical Director of Allied Health Services, said, “OTs focus on getting beyond challenges to facilitate solutions that assist people to live life to its fullest. These solutions can be suggesting adapted ways to perform a routine task, training a patient how to use specialized equipment or making modification recommendations for independent access to buildings and surroundings. OTs also undertake worksite assessments and recommendations and identify and promote alternative behaviours that support healthy living and prevent recurrent illness or injury.”

There are currently four OTs at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) with a fifth vacancy soon to be filled, who provide assessment and intervention for functional tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and vocational training. These tasks may require OT treatments to optimize upper body strength, endurance and dexterity.

Some specialty practices offered by KEMH OTs include hand therapy and custom splinting. OTs provide neonatal intervention for premature babies which includes ´hands-on´ training and education for their mothers.

Neurological Developmental Treatment (NDT) specialists are available for clients who have suffered strokes or head injuries to assist in regaining their maximum level of independence. KEMH OTs also provide wheelchair assessments and custom-seating prescriptions to support improved mobility at varying levels. Thousands of OT patient treatments are provided each year, enabling a smooth transition between in-patient and out-patient services for both the patient and their families.

At the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), approximately nine OTs assist both hospital and community-based adolescents and adults who are dealing with mental health challenges, learning disabilities (developmental delay) and substance abuse issues. OTs at MWI help service-users develop or regain their independence in life management skills, using the newly adopted Recovery Model.

Individual and group programmes include home and self-care training, multi-media art therapy, vocational rehabilitation, health and wellness support and counseling. The “Stronger Living Group,” which meets monthly in Hamilton, is designed to assist young people with mental health problems to reintegrate back into the community through age-appropriate, community-based activities. Mind Frame, an art and photography project, has been introducing service-users for the past three years to artistic expression and was initiated and facilitated by an OT from MWI, with assistance from professional volunteers in the community.

“The role of an OT is to customize strategies and modifications so clients can resolve problems, improve function and manage everyday living activities,” said Morrisa Rogers, President of Bermuda Occupational Therapy Association (BOTA). “The goal is to maximize independence.”

“OTs assist people who are debilitated or disabled and totally reliant on others to achieve independence. The extent to which independence is achieved is individualized; subsequently the outcome will vary in degree and form for each person.” adds Ms. Ingram. “At both hospitals, OTs play a vital role in helping people to actively engage in living safe and productive lives in multiple environments of their choosing.”

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