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Local Occupational Therapists (OTs) have been commended for their contributions to community health and preventive care in Coventry by the Allied Health Professional Awards. The OTs have been nominated for supporting population health and wellbeing.

Over the past 18 months, the OTs have successfully implemented occupational therapy services within three Primary Care Networks (PCNs) within Coventry Place. Unity, Go West, Coventry Central PCN have received support to scope and embed a service aligned to local population need and PCN priorities.

This service comes after a national drive to address the increasing ageing population with complex multiple long-term health needs, who often live in poorer health for longer. Occupational therapy services have been introduced in some areas of Primary Care within the UK and demonstrated positive impacts and improved outcomes for local communities.

Joanne Robinson, an Occupational Therapist supporting Unity PCN said: “We are delighted to be nominated for this award. We really feel passionately that OTs have a critical role to play in an upstream, preventative model of care using Population Health Management Approach. The key is to reach out to people rather than waiting for crisis in health and wellbeing to hit.

 “The impact and value the OT role plays in this model in Primary Care is not always realised and our key aim is to raise the profile of the profession as this is a new and emerging role.”

The service offers patients opportunities for early signposting to reduce the impact of poor health, embedding a personalised care approach with shared decision making, focusing on what matters to them most.

Taking a Population Health Management (PHM) approach, the OTs have used local data to identify specific patient groups and determine population need. The identified population priorities included dementia assessment and management, chronic pain management and frailty.

We have many examples of the positive impact the OT service has had on patients.  For instance, an OT home visit was completed for a 97-year-old woman with a history of long-standing vertebrae fractures. The patient had been struggling to get a replacement back brace for over 12 months and the worn out back brace was causing a skin breakdown risk. With the support of the OTs, the patient was able to get a replacement back brace within a week, as well as addressing other areas of difficulty she was experiencing.

The patient said: “Up until the surgery OT got involved, I felt forgotten about. It felt like you get to a certain age, and you don’t matter anymore. The OT came to my home, took time to listen and was so thorough in finding out my concerns and wishes. Not only did I get a new back brace, but my Blood Pressure was reviewed, and I was able to access some rails for my back garden for extra safety.”

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