Jen, Occupational Therapist

A typical day in the Regaining Independence Service.

I'm an Occupational Therapist [OT] in the Regaining Independence Service [RIS] and I've worked for West Sussex County Council (WSCC) for about seven years.

The RIS is a six-week reablement service. It’s a busy environment, which I enjoy and I meet a range of people with a range of wishes and needs.

My day will often start by liaising with our senior OT practitioner and prioritising who might need to be seen that day. I may well then go and do initial OT assessments, which involves meeting a person in their home and agreeing with them a set of goals they would like to work on over that six-week period. The RIS works with the individual on what is important for them and their wellbeing and we always stress how key this is.

On agreeing these goals with the individual, I will then work alongside a team of reablement assistants to help implement them. Reablement assistants are not carers, as they don’t go into people’s homes and do things for them. Instead, they are specifically trained to take a hands-off approach, encouraging a person to do things independently.

As a service, we do take a community approach, as we don't solely just support someone in their home. For example, I’d support anyone that wanted to attend an art class in the community. It’s important to help people to get that sense of community.

I regularly review progress, which will include doing observational assessments and getting feedback from the reablement assistants I’m working with. Hopefully, over those six weeks, a lot of people will have achieved everything they want to and I can leave them to get on with how they want to live and doing what they want to do. If they don't achieve all that they want, then I support them to look for a long-term package of care. I support people to a point of either independence or with long-term support in place.

As part of my day in RIS, I will do work that contributes to my continuing professional development [CPD] and I incorporate a lot of evidence-based practice into what I do. Once a month, I take part in a 'Brunch and Learn' with colleagues, where we take the opportunity to talk through a case that went well, or we could have improved upon. We use the problem-based learning (PBL) approach where we’ll pick apart what we did, review the latest evidence and guidelines (including the Royal College of Occupational Therapists) and we'll all come back the following month and feed that into a reflection to learn from in future.

More service-wide, we have our Putting Evidence into Practice (PEP) group, where a representative from each team within the occupational therapy service will attend and the outcomes of those meetings are then shared with the rest of the teams. As a service, CPD time is very important and I feel very lucky to be able to focus a significant amount of my time doing this.

During a typical day, I would probably also have supervision. As an OT, I both supervise others and I receive supervision. We support individuals in their community with their wellbeing, but equally we practice that with our staff.

Always on the agenda for supervision, is staff's wellbeing, what their training needs are and the opportunity to reflect on cases. In terms of the training, we have excellent links with our Learning and Development Team and a wide range of opportunities for development that support us to be the best we can be. We have excellent moving handling training for example, which is so invaluable.

Find out more about working in occupational therapy and view our current vacancies.

Last updated:
6 July 2022
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