It's been fantastic to be amongst the case management and rehabilitation industry this week. We've felt the positive Occupational Therapy Week vibes more than ever and it's been so encouraging to see thousands of OT's collaborate and take to social media to celebrate the Value of OT.
We've seen many examples of the incredible work that's being done out there; from teaching legal professionals about cerebral palsy (shout out to our own OT, Anita!), to many examples of the day-to-day focus on practical life skills that make a difference to someone's everyday enjoyment and fulfilment of life. This is represented perfectly in Fred's 'Live Not Exist' video created by the RCOT.
This week has also given us the opportunity to reflect on the success of our own team of OT's. As an organisation that was initially founded by an occupational therapist, Elaine, we have always valued the work of occupational therapy within our client's case management packages. We, of course, have since launched ILS Rehabilitation Solutions in order to provide our therapy services on a larger scale. To date, we have over 70 OT's spread between 9 services and are now able to provide therapy as part of a case management package or as standalone service. This week we are especially proud to remain an independent company and one of the UK's leaders in rehabilitation services.
Rather than hear it from us, we gave the microphone to our moving and handling advisor, Pat, who kindly answered our questions about what it's like to be an OT for ILS, what motivates her, and why she values her job as an OT:
Meet the ILS Rehabilitation Solutions Therapist: Pat Mitchell, Moving and Handling Advisor
Hey Pat! Can you tell us what is your role within ILS, how long have you worked for us?
“I am a specialist moving and handling advisor for ILS Rehab Solutions. I work part-time with ILS, and I balance this with other work closer to my home in Surrey. As of June 2017, I will have worked here for 7 years.
“My role means that I assess our clients for their short and long-term needs and goals. I work to promote an on-going moving and handling risk assessment for our clients, their families and those who work with them. My aim is to encourage my clients to participate and fully involve themselves in their moving rehabilitation whilst ensuring that their handling risks are managed with their families and support workers.”
What was your background prior to ILS, how did it lead you to ILS Rehabilitation Solutions?
“I am a nurse by background, but my chosen speciality is moving and handling. I completed a master’s degree in Healthcare Manual Handling Management at Loughborough University graduating in 2013. Prior to joining ILS in 2010, I was working within another moving and handling role in Surrey where I was training families to care for other families members. I continue to combine both roles today.
“The ILS role was a natural progression for me. I saw the job advertised within my local National Back Exchange and I really liked the sound of it.”
What appealed to you about coming to work for ILS?
“ILS Rehab was immediately able to offer me much more freedom and flexibility in my work. I learnt that I would have access to the best possible equipment and solutions for the families and clients I worked with. I have been able to enhance the lives of clients with new opportunities like activities abroad, horse-riding, sailing, climbing, and skiing. It’s great to actually be able to assess someone for their long-term needs and goals and to actively participate in ensuring that any home adaptations will meet their long-term handling needs.
“There were also many other things that appealed to me personally. I was able to work whilst having a family, I was joining a brilliant team of therapists with access to an in-house care team, and I would be offered plenty of opportunities to enhance my professional development with in-house training and CPD.
“The variety of therapy services that ILS Rehab offer has meant that I can do close work with other OT’s. A client of mine may have another ILS or external therapist, in Physiotherapy for example, and therefore we can work together to produce the best outcomes for the client.”
Can you tell us about the clients you’ve worked with?
“I work with both adults and children who mostly have acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury or spinal injury. The youngest client I have worked with at ILS was aged 2, and all my clients have profound physical disabilities. Many have learning difficulties too.
“I travel quite far to visit my clients; Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire, Essex, Wiltshire, Suffolk, Sussex, and London. In the past I’ve travelled as far as Lincolnshire and South Wales to visit a client.”
Can you describe your typical day?
“A typical ILS day can be very varied. A large part of my role is to provide bespoke training for care teams or families on the correct moving and handling methods for their clients. Often the families are the care teams and it’s so important to engage with them in order to gain the full outcomes for the client.
“I could be undertaking an initial needs assessment (INA) for a potential client who is looking for a moving and handling therapist. When I do this, I am looking at the short and long-term needs of the client, looking at their environment, equipment and very importantly, what activities and goals are important for the client.
“Or performing a house visit and equipment research to establish what needs to be considered in the home in order to achieve positive moving and handling outcomes for the client.
“…and of course with each of these duties comes a lot of administration!”
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
“I love working with my clients and families in their homes. Finding a solution to their individual needs is my real motivation.”
How do you keep up with your CPD?
“I try to attend all of the relevant equipment exhibitions as part of my CPD, including the National Back Exchange conference.
“I am a member of the South London Back Exchange and attend the planned study days when possible, as well as sharing and receiving new information via email.
“I also completed a ‘Train the Trainer’ course in moving and handling with Edge Services in 2016.”
What keeps you with ILS? What are your future career goals?
“I plan to stay with ILS until my retirement now. I love the flexibility that the role brings, and both my previous moving and handling coordinator, Alison and current coordinator, Fiona has been very supportive whilst our mentorship sessions and discussion are really beneficial. Our occasional moving and handling team meetings, where all the advisors get together to discuss topics and equipment relevant to our field of work, are of great benefit too. Equally, I love all the CPD opportunities I’m given to develop and better myself in the role”.