The Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) Stated “the provision of personalised and occupational-focused rehabilitation has never been so important or more urgently needed”.
After spending 13 years working as an Occupational Therapist in Health and Social care, I have reached a crossroads in my career where I am no longer satisfied in being a therapist working within the current constraints of the NHS.
Due to ongoing move towards privatising the NHS, and huge demand on the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are significant repercussions of this, in particular huge waiting time across all NHS services. The focus has shifted to all community therapy to drive towards an “urgent care” model. This basically means therapists are fire-fighting to try and managing people who need immediate input to prevent hospital admission and or facilitate hospital discharges. Whilst neglecting “planned input “such as rehabilitation.
During a time when rehabilitation is increasing vitally important, in order to treat people who are experiencing long COVID symptoms. Require specialist occupational focused rehab such as advice on fatigue management and pacing in order to manage and treat this new condition. It therefore even more important than ever that people have access to rehabilitation from Occupational Therapists and Allied Health care professionals.
Below are my 7 reasons why I feel Occupational-focused Rehabilitation is so important:
1 Promotes independence and supports people to remain well.
2 Helps restore previous functional levels (baseline).
3 Improves both physical and mental health.
4 Maintenance; helps maintain or can prevent further progression of a medical condition/disability.
5 Increased interaction and access to local community- reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
6 Prevention of hospital admissions- for example falls assessment and treatment. If the cause of the reason why someone is falling is not investigated and treated, then they will continue to fall until the end up going to hospital.
7 Reduction on formal care packages and informal carers such as family and friends.
For further reading around this subject NHS ENGLAND has released a document. This discusses the importance of the commissioning of suitable and equitable rehabilitation services consistently throughout the UK.