In honour of Occupational Therapy Week, we are sharing a story from our client Heather, and how her OT Emma, helped her gain independence, participation, inclusion in her life and local community.
In 2015 Heather was told she would never walk again after significant long-lasting injuries from a motor vehicle accident including chronic pain, fatigue, reduced functional mobility, nerve damage and paralysis. Previously a very active person, our client’s mental health was impacted, but she always tried to stay positive.
Emma, a National 360 Occupation Therapist, performed an Assistive Technology (AT) assessment for Heather following a request from a pain specialist due to a decrease in mobility outside of the home. Heather had been managing her mobility with forearm crutches or a manual wheelchair with the help of her husband.
Emma performed various AT tests with Heather to find a solution that would work best for her and her lifestyle, together Emma and Heather found a mobility scooter that was perfect! After overcoming various obstacles with her initial technology suppliers and assessment and approval timeframes.
Heather is now getting out of the house daily – even if it’s just to get out of the house for some fresh air and sunshine. Even wet weather didn’t faze her, and she enjoyed being able to be out in the rain!
The new mobility scooter has significantly impacted Heather’s mental health in a positive way and has improved her relationship with her husband, independence, and sense of autonomy.
Heather now has:
- Increased independence in accessing her community.
- Increased engagement in her meaningful & purposeful activities
- Improved her overall mental health and well-being.
- Reduced reliance and dependence on her husband and other informal supports for community access activities.
- This has therefore improved her marital relationship with her husband.
- Reduced burden on her husband and reduced risk of injury to him due to the physical demand of propelling the previous manual wheelchair frequently.
- Increased the quality of her sleep due to increased regular engagement in meaningful & purposeful activities.
- Reduced her experience of social isolation.
- Ability to mobilise extended distances independently with nil negative impact on her physical health, including pain.
- Increased ability to access and engage more regularly in hydrotherapy to reduce impacts of her MVA related injuries.
- Improvement in confidence to resume engagement in social and community activities independently.
This scooter “has given me a new life and freedom” it “has significantly helped my independence and sense of freedom, as I no longer am being ‘minded’ by my husband, and it has additionally helped my husband my giving him more freedom himself” she said.
This is an amazing illustration of how Occupational Therapy can support participation, inclusion and independence in the lives of clients, supporting people in activities they find meaningful.