A Reflection on The Value Of Occupational Therapists Working In Wheelchair Services Canterbury Christ Church University
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A Reflection on The Value Of Occupational Therapists Working In Wheelchair Services Canterbury Christ Church University

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Pam Wooding, occupational therapy student at Canterbury Christ Church University, reflects on her placement allocation in Wheelchair services. COT Annual Conference 2010 (22-25 June 2010)

Pam Wooding, occupational therapy student at Canterbury Christ Church University, reflects on her placement allocation in Wheelchair services. COT Annual Conference 2010 (22-25 June 2010)

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  • General assumption that this would not be a particularly dynamic or interesting placement compared to other work settings. Opinion from others that this was not a setting which fully utilised the skills of OTs. That this was a simple service which dealt with basic ‘measure and fit’ procedures. I had no prior experience to form an opinion of my own. Therefore I decided to remain open minded about the placement setting and looked forward to finding about the reality of it during the 6 weeks that I was to spend there.
  • As a reference point I think it is advantageous to describe elements of my learning development so far this year. The links between my placement experience and the modules delivered by CCCU have created the foundation for my argument. I propose that there is more value in the role of OTs within wheelchair services, than was communicated to me by the negative reactions of others. Therefore I will give an overview of the module content during year 1.
  • So here we have a selection of images which are familiar to the work setting. Self propelled wheelchair, Electric powered wheelchair and a selection of pressure cushions. But how does this equipment relate to OT studies this year? My learning and development as a 1 st year student relates to the crucial element missing from this picture.
  • Study so far indicates that it is vital to find out the answers to several questions. Who is this person? What do they do? Who helps them do it? Which roles are important to them? Where do they go? What are their variable social environment like? What are their variable physical environment like? What are their physical and mental abilities?
  • The service I was placed with employed both occupational therapists and physiotherapists. The physiotherapy trained team members primarily looked at bio-mechanical aspects of clients, accompanied by consideration of functional aspects. This complemented the inverse focus of the OT’s in the team. These two skilled disciplines worked sympathetically side by side within the service team. Subsequently the synthesis of knowledge and skills from both professions facilitated beneficial outcomes for clients.

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  • 1. A Reflection On The Value Of Occupational Therapists Working In Wheelchair Services A presentation by Pam Wooding 1 st year occupational therapy student At Canterbury Christ Church University
  • 2. Origin of Presentation
    • 1 st placement allocation in Wheelchair services.
    • Negative feedback from peers and others prior to placement.
    • Decision to reflect on relevance of module content during placement.
  • 3. Development of learning as a 1 st year OT student at Canterbury Christ Church University
  • 4. Science & Context of Occupation
    • The importance of occupation to health.
    • Introduction to activity analysis.
    • The effects of occupational deprivation.
    • The concept of occupational justice.
  • 5. The Interaction of Body Systems & Human Being Changing Through the Lifespan
    • An overview of human anatomy and physiology.
    • The interaction between physical and psychological health and wellbeing.
    • An introduction to health conditions and their effect on participation.
  • 6. Fundamentals of Professional Collaboration
    • Understanding the relevance of multidisciplinary practice.
    • The concept and practice of person centeredness in health care provision.
  • 7. Participation in Occupation Through the Lifespan
    • Understanding the complexity of barriers and enablers to participation.
    • Critical analysis of contextual factors which limit or promote engagement in meaningful occupations.
  • 8. Professional Development
    • Reflection on our own learning experiences in relation to professional practice.
  • 9. So how does this relate to Wheelchair Services?
  • 10. The Person accessing the Wheelchair Service
  • 11. Practice Placement
    • Discovery that all these ideas and concepts are embedded within a proactive and successful Wheelchair Service.
  • 12. Focus of Wheelchair Service Team
    • Function within a complex and demanding health care provision.
    • Understand the diverse needs of clients of any age who are experiencing the effects of a wide variety of health conditions.
    • Ensure that recommended equipment will maximise the benefit for each individual.
  • 13. Multidisciplinary Working
    • Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehabilitation engineers working collaboratively.
    • Knowledge and skills of both disciplines can be synthesised for the benefit of the service users.
  • 14. Person-Environment-Occupation Model (Law et al, 1996)
    • OTs receive unique training in considering the wider context of a person’s life.
    • Embracing the meaning of participation while considering the individual’s environment.
  • 15. Delivery of Service
    • High levels of verbal communication with clients, carers, family members, suppliers and other professionals.
    • Extensive effort expended to ensure equipment is appropriate.
    • Personal, occupational, social and environmental contexts were considered throughout.
  • 16. Explanations for chasm between negative attitudes of others and personal experience on placement
    • Others may have underestimated the complexity of the service?
    • Others may have experience of other wheelchair services which do not fully embrace OT skills?
    • I might have been placed with the only wheelchair service in the country to value OT specific skills?
    • I might be enlightened throughout the next two years study that our training is not as conducive to working in wheelchair services as I first thought?
  • 17. Conclusion
    • Confidence that there is great value in OT skills being utilised in wheelchair services.
    • It is crucial that we do not limit the possibilities of our profession.
    • Embrace the exciting diversity of work settings where the unique skills of occupational therapists can be used.
  • 18. References
    • Law, M., Cooper, B.A., Strong, S., Stewart, D., Rigby, P. & Letts, L. (1996) ‘ The Person - Environment -Occupational Model : A Transactive Approach to Occupational Performance’. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63 (1) pp.9-23