Doing occupational therapy differently – have we considered it?

Frost

I was watching TV last night and they were talking about the Accident & Emergency department crisis in New Zealand where people have to wait for hours and don’t always get the service they need. They showed an A&E department in Australia – who had taken some learning from the toyota motor cars assembly facility – the ‘lean’ method/technique (or some similar word) as a way to address the waiting issue and to avoid getting into traps that prioritising patients though a triage system often brings. They were focusing on seeing the person and getting the intervention right by the right people at the right time, seeing the whole and not just the parts, focusing on the best outcome.

 

I’m not in the heart of practice any more but can remember going to one job where it felt that the people in the job before me had spent most of their time assessing and putting people on the waiting list and not therefore having time to treat the clients. The TV programme and my experience made me wonder whether it was time for us to also think about how we prioritise our clients and whether prioritising is the most effective way to go. I also know that the pressure of waiting lists often gets to therapists. Seeing people who have beenwaiting for a time is also frustrating as it often means intervention has become harder and the client and the family are incredible frustrated about having had to wait.

Interesting on the same night there was a segment on a new stroke initiative to give rehab to stroke clients who have received little since they returned home. It’s a sad fact that rehabilitation seems to be a dying art – so great to see someone pushing for it’s return. I guess what it reiterated for me is that some services that were previously provided by hospital facilities are going to need to be championed by non-government organisations if they are to survive – and as occupational therapists we need to be advocating hard ensure clients have the possibility to receive services such as rehabilitation.

Food for thought

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