Hi Sharon, please can you explain what Occupational Therapy is for those that may not know?
Occupational Therapy is based around supporting a person to do the things which are important to them in their everyday life. It’s not always about using equipment either. Sometimes it can be advising a person to do something in a different way, or to rearrange their day to make daily living more manageable.
Why did you want to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
My first awareness of Occupational Therapy was working for Leicestershire County Council, working alongside occupational therapists, arranging adaptations for people in the community in their homes to enable them to continue to live independently. I developed a knowledge of grab rails, furniture raises, ramps and steps, stair lifts and other lifts, and various other works. This also led to my interest in what Occupational Therapy is and does.
I joined NRS Healthcare in 2014 as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and I can honestly say I learn something every day doing this job.
What’s your favourite part about being an Occupation Therapy Assistant?
The people! Whether I’m in the office, or visiting people in their homes, my job is about talking to people. When people use any of our services they are often experiencing physical or mental difficulties themselves, or crisis in their family, and may be distressed, upset or angry. It’s highly rewarding being able to break down and analyse the cause of the difficulty and to provide an answer, which in turn helps to improve their overall wellbeing.
What do you think about the Product Advice Service?
The Product Advice Service offers our customers the opportunity to ensure that the products they are looking at will support their needs and fit into their home environment or lifestyle. I believe that this is an important feature as people sometimes buy equipment that isn’t right for them or for their home, which then maybe can’t be returned for hygiene purposes – this is something that we can help to prevent.
We talk to people who have relatives in crisis or in hospital who are investigating large pieces of equipment that may not be appropriate for the person. We frequently point people towards statutory services to request assessments so that appropriate equipment can be provided on loan by their local authority. Many people are unaware of the services that are available in the community.
The Product Advice team remain impartial and ensure that we offer the best, appropriate advice to our customers, at a time when they may be on long wait lists for statutory services. We will not sell, or encourage people to buy, equipment that isn’t appropriate for them.
What kind of calls do the Product Advice team get?
We get calls about a wide variety of subjects: bathing; toileting; use of mobility equipment; suitable continence wear; ramping; pressure care etc. We try to keep our knowledge up to date on the products we sell so that we can always offer advice that is relevant and appropriate to our customers, whether they are professionals, traders, or private customers.
What’s a typical day like as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for NRS Healthcare?
There isn’t one! No two days are the same – there’s nothing typical about working in Occupational Therapy. Some days I can be in the office dealing with a variety of enquiries about our catalogue range; other days I might be visiting people at home to complete an assessment, or doing virtual assessments on the phone or internet to enable us to carry on working during Covid-19 restrictions; or I might be working in a service centre cataloguing recycled specials. We meet and talk to lots of people every day, and every person’s situation is unique to them.
What would you say to someone who wants to be an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant?
Go for it! You’ve got to be good at thinking outside the box – it’s not always about equipment or adaptation. Sometimes it’s about getting people to change the way they do things and change the way that they look at things so that they can improve their situation. You will also need to like people and have empathy, a positive attitude, and be able to work with people from all areas of society.
Sharon and the rest of the Product Advice team are on hand Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4pm to help you with any questions about our products you may have. Call 0345 121 8111 to speak to one of our friendly team or you can email them at [email protected]