Occupational Therapy in the time of a Pandemic

Our Occupational Therapists (OTs) have had a true challenge over the past few weeks.

They are faced with the need to protect our patients and themselves from the dangers of the Coronavirus pandemic, while still ensuring that every patient receives the stimulation and therapy they need to continue on their journey to health and fulfillment.

It has meant some big adjustments and a lot of creative thinking.

Here is an inside look at some of the changes they have implemented:

  • The OTs have taken on a new look with the rest of the Healthcare Centre team, donning face masks, hair caps, visors, plastic smocks, and sleeves. 
  • Our Occupational Therapists are making use of microphones during activity to ensure that residents can still hear them through all their very important protective gear.
  • Lounges and dining areas have been rearranged to facilitate appropriate distancing between residents.
  • All activities have been reviewed and adapted or removed the risk of cross-contamination between residents.  
  • The OTs implement sanitising procedures before and after all activities – all materials are sanitised and the residents participate in hand hygiene measures before and after activities.  
  • The following activities are still presented in a group format: 
    • Bingo
    • Armchair travel
    • Target
    • Crosswords
    • Quizzes
    • Word-searches 
    • Discussion groups 
    • Reminiscence groups 
    • Music sessions
    • Exercise groups
    • Movies: Netflix, etc, Documentaries
    • Good Newsgroups
    • Riddles and jokes
    • Painting
    • Balloon volleyball
    • Skittles
    • Carpet balls
    • Hoop Throw
    • Chair exercises
  • We take our residents for lots of walks and fresh air in our courtyards, taking advantage of the late autumn sunshine wherever we can. 
  • Our OT’s provide specialized passive exercises and mobilisation therapy for those who need it. 
  • We have increased our email contact with the families and send more frequent updates and feedback to put families at ease while they are unable to visit. 
  • We facilitate Skype and video call sessions for residents and their loved ones and friends to keep them feeling connected. 
  • We have stayed in contact with the volunteers who usually help out in our OT sessions so that they will know how their beloved friends in the Healthcare Centres are faring. 
  • We are providing support to spouses of persons with Dementia (Dementia Support Group services).
  • The OTs continue to participate in the MDT and provide intervention and support to the independent living village residents at this time as needed.
  • Our OTs support the Healthcare Centre management and team by participating in support and encouragement of staff to comply with infection control practices and precautions in this time.
  • Creativity is the order of the day –  we have tried to expand on and reinvent the way we do our activities and there are always new ideas emerging. 
  • Most importantly of all, our OTs have done what they do best and stayed connected with each other for support and exchanged ideas for activities with each other.

Our activity resource library is growing daily, and while we look forward to being able to have closer contact with our patients again soon, we are enjoying the challenge to come up with new and exciting ideas to keep them moving, healthy, and happy under these unprecedented circumstances. 


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