The secret weapon of health care – Occupational Therapy Week lands on Hastings Pier

A team of occupational therapists from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are getting out and about to raise the profile of their profession.

Their day-to-day work sees them support people to ‘live life their way’ despite any health or care needs they may be living with. The Sussex team is getting out and about as part of Occupational Therapy Week, organised by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

The Occupational Therapists from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who were on Hastings Pier yesterday.

Yesterday the East Sussex Mental Health Occupational Therapists held an event for the profession on Hastings Pier. Therapy staff shaped their bodies into the letters OT, flew a kite that was made by patients from the local acute psychiatric unit and to members of the public they handed out free merchandise and information from the RCOT about the profession.

Occupational Therapists have been described as the health and care system’s ‘secret weapon’. They are the only registered profession qualified to work across mental and physical health and in NHS and social care settings. This means they are uniquely placed to see a whole person holistically. East Sussex Mental Health OTs support individuals in their recovery from mental illness assisting them to find different ways of carrying out activities to live life to their maximum potential – embracing the theme ‘living not existing’.

Spelling out what it is they do.

Research from the RCOT has shown that Occupational Therapists working on the frontline with ambulance services and in accident and emergency departments can reduce unnecessary admissions by up to 80 per cent. Occupational Therapists on acute medical wards can cut stays from 9.5 days to just one day.

Working in social care occupational therapy-led services have been shown to provide better quality more person centred services where for every £1 spent on clients receiving it, £1.43 is saved through a reduction in the need for ongoing home care support because clients become more independent.

Flying their kite, a special kite, made by patients from the local acute psychiatric unit.

Julia Scott, CEO at the RCOT said: “I’m delighted that Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has joined the hundreds of organisations supporting Occupational Therapy Week. It is a great reflection of local community spirit.

“The event on Hastings pier is an excellent way to promote the value of services that provide practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities that matter to them. Occupational Therapy support can make a real difference giving people a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way they feel about the future.”

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