Aoife O’Gorman, Occupational Therapist Manager OT Department St James’ Hospital writes….

In 2013, the Occupational Therapy department at St. James’s Hospital was the fortunate recipient of a €10,000 grant from the charity “Footsteps”. Occupational Therapy enables people to complete their activities of daily living and function as independently as possible. This often requires the modification of the activity and the environment in which one functions. One core component of Occupational Therapy is to provide individualized posture and pressure care assessment and equipment provision in the acute, rehabilitation and discharge phases of care. Occupational Therapists enable people to sit out of bed in the acute phases of care which is essential to; build up sitting tolerance, promote optimal posture and positioning, maximise functional abilities, facilitate swallow, respiratory and digestive function, provide maximum stimulation and improve quality of life.

The €10,000 grant was utilised to purchase a range of specialised tilt-in-space wheelchairs, self-propelling wheelchairs, vascular stump boards, elevating leg rests and pressure relieving cushions specifically to improve service provision and rehabilitation outcomes for orthopaedic, vascular and neurology inpatients. The grant has also made provision for individual cases who are non-medical card holders and require essential enabling equipment to facilitate discharge home from hospital. The new equipment has made a significant impact on the timeliness of appropriate seating equipment provision as well as improved patient satisfaction and comfort. The timely provision of equipment enables the therapy team to commence rehabilitation at the earliest opportunity, thus, both improving rehabilitation outcomes and reducing hospital length of stay.

The Occupational Therapy department would like to express their deepest gratitude to Footsteps for awarding this special grant and in particular, Caroline Liddy, Applications Controller, Immunology Department, St. James’s Hospital and Footsteps Management Committee member. See below a photograph depicting samples of the range of equipment items purchased and Footsteps management Committee members, Caroline Liddy, Rosalie Parker and Derek Earl. Footsteps accepts applications from GPs and allied health professionals on behalf of those who would benefit from a once-off grant to facilitate convalescent care and support in returning to independent living. These grants are available country-wide.