An occupational therapy scheme at the ‘front door’ of the Emergency Department at the Wrexham Maelor has helped have a positive impact on the rate of admissions to the hospital.
Current figures show that in on an average weekday, the occupational therapist and multidisciplinary team at the hospital’s Emergency Department provide an alternative to admission for 85% of the patients they see.
Occupational therapists who are involved with the Emergency Department can reduce the numbers of people admitted onto hospital wards.
Doctors in the Emergency Department can refer patients to the occupational therapy team then together with physiotherapy and nursing colleagues, the patient is assessed and if suitable, they help to get the patient home on the same day, organising help for them in the community where needed.
They can arrange for help for a discharged patient such as providing equipment and also make plans for further therapy for patients who need it.
Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales and Wrexham Maelor Hospital Emergency Department consultant Dr Robin Roop said that he is ‘fortunate’ to work in a hospital with occupational therapy in emergency medicine and is aware of the ‘benefits to the entire system’ that it brings.
In an open letter in support of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists report “Reducing the pressure on hospitals – A report of the value of Occupational Therapy in Wales”, he said that occupational therapists are making a positive difference to emergency medicine and has endorsed the use of occupational therapists at the ‘front door’.
Dr Robin Roop said: “I think having positive working relationships on front line of the Emergency Department is vital. We want to assess patients, treat them and move them to an appropriate place in a safe manner that is best for them.
“And preferably, we want them to be back home safely and in a timely fashion”.
Rachel Wylie, clinical lead for occupational therapy at Wrexham Maelor Hospital said: “We look at the journey of the patient once they come into the hospital and try to help those who potentially don’t need to be admitted to get home or provide them with an alternative to hospital admission.
“Originally occupational therapists were placed in the Medical Assessment Unit at the hospital to see if we could get people home in a more timely manner.
“Because of the success in that unit we were asked to go into the Emergency Department too because it was effective.
“There are lots of departments helping us to get people home so they are in an environment they know and that is better for them. This isn’t just about occupational therapy, we can’t do it on our own. We work with physiotherapists and people in the community too.”
Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Gary Doherty added: “There are good things happening and relationships are being built. People working together is what will drive improvement forward.”