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Forget can’t - think can!


professional TOP TECH 7 of the best apps for OTs

AND… BREATHE Understanding the benefits of yoga

MEET THE OTS The therapists working in unusual settings

THERAPY IN THE GARDEN How social and therapeutic horticulture can shape your practice as an OT

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forget can’t – think can

PUBLISHER Denise Connelly EDITOR Lindsay Cochrane STAFF WRITER Kirsty McKenzie DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Lucy Baillie Gillian Smith

SALES Brian Beacham Marian Mathieson


Hello, and welcome to the first issue of Enable Professional! Enable Magazine has been on the go for over five years now, and after a bit of encouragement from the healthcare professionals who read it, we’ve put together a special edition of the magazine especially for you lot. With more than 30,000 OTs working across the UK, it’s a constantly evolving profession, moving to catch up with the changing needs of our population. Whether you’re working in mental health, paediatrics, learning disability, or amputation, it’s a fascinating line of work. And there are lots of opportunities out there for you to grow and develop in your practice. Which is what the first edition of Enable Professional is all about. We’ve been out and about, finding out more about OTs with interesting roles, looking into development opportunities, and discovering some products that will change your clients’ lives – and brought it all together in the pages of this magazine. As this is our first issue, we definitely want a bit of feedback from you – what would you like to find out more about as an OT? Are you undertaking some work that could change the profession? Have you got an interesting story to tell? Get in touch now – just email, and a member of the team will be in touch to find out more. I really hope you enjoy what we’ve put together for you this issue – and can’t wait to get started on the next edition of Enable Professional! Until next time,

ENABLE MAGAZINE DC Publishing Ltd, 200 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HG Tel: 0844 249 9007 Fax: 0141 353 0435

Lindsay Cochrane, Editor







The College of Occupational Therapists has played a central part in the development of new guidelines for treating stroke patients. Professor Avril Drummond and Karen Clements believe that a multidisciplinary approach to post-stroke care and rehabilitation may increase chances of a full recovery.

Research from the USA has found that OTs incorporating laughter into their treatment programmes could help improve engagement rates. It has also revealed that exercise boosts patients’ mental and physical wellbeing – speeding up the backto-work process. Time to get practising those knock-knock jokes...

The UK’s Parkinson’s Excellence Network has found that there’s a shortage of occupational therapists working with patients with the condition. Just 13% of OT services surveyed were part of an integrated Parkinson’s clinic, and less than half were part of a Parkinson’s specialist multidisciplinary team.

©DC Publishing Ltd 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without prior written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of DC Publishing Ltd. The publisher takes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers within the publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that information is accurate; while dates and prices are correct at time of going to print, DC Publishing Ltd takes no responsibility for omissions and errors.

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What’s inside



Professional development


GOING INDEPENDENT After a new challenge in your career? What about going it alone as an independent OT? We take a look at what you need to consider.

10 GREEN POWER Social and therapeutic horticulture has proven to benefit the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of individuals – and more and more occupational therapists are tapping into the practice.

27 THERAPY THROUGH YOGA The ancient practice has so many benefits. Special Yoga tell us how they’re using yoga to work with children with special needs.

Advice and information 6



20 THE ACCESSIBLE HOME There are gadgets, gizmos and products for every room in the house to make it more accessible for individuals with different needs.

We find out more about the clever tech that’s supporting OTs in their role.



If a service user asks for advice about motoring, where do you begin? The Motability team share some insight into WAVs and adaptations.

A roundup of essential events for occupational therapists.



23 PRODUCT ROUNDUP Some of the best items on the marketplace for people with disabilities.


Families up and down the country are at breaking point because of a lack of support for carers. We find out more about how respite and short breaks can help.

Rosie Curtis tells us about her unique role with Help for Heroes.

18 TAKING YOUR SKILLS OVERSEAS OT Katie Parker shares her experience of working in Malawi.

We take a look at some of the niftiest toys and products out there to help child development, mobility and more.


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Enable Professional, Issue 1


07/11/2016 18:25

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Advice and information


1 ABILIPAD Created by an occupational therapist to help patients to write, Abilipad lets you customise your own keyboard using letters, words, sentences or pictures. You can also modify key sizes, fonts and colours, and use the textto-speech function to help minimise errors. Available from iTunes.







2 POV POV (Point of View) is a set of activities that teach spatial reasoning skills through fun, challenging and interactive activities. Users will be guided through maths and mapping tasks, and encouraged to differentiate between left and right. Available from iTunes.

3 LITTLE WRITER For OTs working with kids, this is a great app for youngsters having difficulty with writing and letter formation. With a bright, colourful interface, kids can trace letter shapes to familiarise themselves with the form before giving it a go on paper. Available from iTunes.

4 EYE CHART PRO Great for house visits, this app creates customised eye charts for your iPad or iPhone. Each chart can also be resized and mirrored, with letters being randomised at the touch of a button. Available from iTunes.



Technology has helped us in more ways that we could ever imagine – but could apps also be the answer when it comes to treating your clients? We take a look at some of the best apps for you and you patients

Great for both patients and yourself – this nifty little app helps to target visual fatigue by restoring vision and relaxing the eyes. Users are given a series of eye exercises that involve rotational balls on-screen for 10 minutes every one or two hours. By FreeDragon, available from iTunes.



A voice recognition app that lets patients speak and have their words converted into typed characters. Like Apple’s Siri, it can be used to text, email, update social media and set up notes and reminders. It’s also good for taking your own notes. Available from iTunes and Google Play.



An audiology app to determine whether or not your patients have hearing impairments. Experts believe that individuals with hearing loss have greater difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, so this test examines how well clients can detect words in background noise. The results claim to be 98% accurate, so it’s a great way to determine whether a more formal hearing assessment is needed. Available from iTunes.

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Professional development

Due to the changing landscape in health and social care, more and more occupational therapists are moving away from traditional roles in the NHS and local authorities to become independent. We find out more about the ins and outs of going private

VARIETY Private OTs can work in a variety of fields, taking shifts in residential homes or adapted housing, providing expertise for education authorities, schools or parents, offering expert advice to legal teams working on personal injury cases, as well as working in vocational rehabilitation services. There’s a wide variety of work out there to tap into. So what do you need to consider before going private? Becoming independent essentially means you’re setting up a business. Your unique selling point? You and your skills. So think about what you have to offer, what experience you have and why that would be attractive to prospective clients. Your first point of call is to write up a business plan – you can get insight into how to do this and how to register your business at set-up-business. It’s important to understand and stick to legal frameworks, making sure


here’s no denying the fact that the world of occupational therapy is changing. With budget cuts and changing needs of service users, and more sectors seeing the value in an OT’s expertise, there are lots of different avenues to pursue professionally – which is seeing more OTs going private. Being self-employed means you have more choice and control over your working life. You can schedule shifts to suit your wants and needs, undertake work in fields which interest you, and you get a bit more flexibility – you can choose the type and level of work that you want to do, how often you do it, and you don’t have the same restrictions often faced in statutory services.

ensure you’ve got insurance in place too. For help with the legal and financial side, it makes sense to get in touch with a lawyer and accountant to handle this, or to at least point you in the right direction. NETWORK With the framework in place, it’s a matter of getting out there and marketing your services. Will you rely on word of mouth, social media or advertising? It pays to build a network of OTs too – if they come across a job they can’t do, they might send that business your way. The College of Occupational Therapists’ Independent Practice arm has lots of great information for OTs keen to go independent, and run courses, conferences and events throughout the year to give you the tools and information you need before making the leap. It’s well worth checking out. Going independent can be a real adventure, and a fantastic direction for those in search of more control and focus in their working life. If you want a new challenge, start investigating your options now.

you’re balancing the books correctly and paying tax and National Insurance Contributions, and also that clients pay you and on time. Making up contracts prior to carrying out work is a good idea to ensure clients agree to your charges and payment terms. Get a clear understanding of data protection laws, and

i College of Occupational Therapists Independent Practice


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Professional development

Did you know that there’s more to pottering with plant pots than making your garden look good? There are plenty of benefits to be had from being at one with nature – and horticultural therapy is rapidly becoming another key part of many an OT’s therapeutic arsenal


rom potting pretty pansies to weeding your borders, there’s something satisfying about an afternoon spent in the garden. Whether it’s the fresh air, the sense of accomplishment you get from creating something or just knowing that finally you’ve finished that job you’ve been talking about for months, spending some time with nature is a real mood booster. And this isn’t just anecdotal – there’s real evidence to show that gardening is good for you. A report from Natural England published in February showed that being outdoors can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, improve dementia symptoms, boost self-esteem, improve happiness and bring about a sense of calm. Charity Thrive are taking this notion of getting some good from your garden one step further with social and therapeutic horticulture (STH), aimed specifically at disabled people. By offering advice to those keen to garden on their own and through various different gardening



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Professional development


projects across the country, Thrive’s therapists are helping hundreds of individuals learn new skills and really thrive in the natural environment – and they’re helping OTs get in on the action too.

GOOD FOR YOU “Some people might view what we do as being a subset of occupational therapy,” says Damien Newman, training, education and consultancy manager for Thrive. “We think that we have a medium that works, not just with people who are gardeners, but for people who have never gardened before as well. There’s an increasing evidence base to support what people have always intuitively understood – that being outside is good for us.” Thrive offer a range of courses which help OTs get clued up on STH, giving them another avenue to pursue when working with clients to develop certain skills or overcome challenges that their disability presents. There’s more to the practice than leading a group of service users out to an allotment – there’s real skill involved beyond hobby gardening. It’s important that therapists have an understanding of horticulture and specialist gardening techniques to make sure that service users get the most out of the activity. “Gardening is essentially an occupation that has endless opportunities in a way that many occupations don’t,” Damien says. “If we’re to think about how people cook – although there are thousands of different recipes, we’re essentially using the same methods. Frying, baking, steaming – you maybe get 12 different ways of cooking. But we could list 50 different ways just to propagate plants. This specialist knowledge in order to make sure what you grow grows healthily is beyond the education provision currently involved in an occupational therapy degree.”

BETTER INFORMED A full understanding of the science of horticulture means that you are better informed and more able to help clients and service users engage in gardening, find methods and techniques that work for them and watch their plants, flowers and herbs grow. With social and therapeutic horticulture, each individual will have a tailored programme that will work towards a specific goal, combining your training as an OT with specific horticultural techniques. “You might be working with someone post-stroke who wants to redevelop balance,” Damien says. “If that was the case, we might be thinking about putting together a programme of gardening that helps practise that function. What we’re trying to do is grade horticulture in a way that once you’ve mastered this skill then mastering this next skill will slowly redevelop this function or that ability. So we might begin with a threewheeled wheelbarrow, moving on to a two-wheeled wheelbarrow then moving on to something like hoeing where the hoe remains closer to your body. The next step might be sweeping, and eventually watering with a watering can where your balance is being pulled in one direction.” Even if a service user has never gardened before, there are real benefits to be had – which could lead them on to trying other activities. Gardening comes with physical benefits, building strength, using certain muscles and even improving balance, perhaps leading to gains in mobility. It can have mental benefits too – a group gardening project could help someone

connect with others and improve communication skills, boosting confidence and self-esteem, maybe even encouraging individuals to apply for work.

INCLUSIVE “We think that everybody can benefit from horticulture,” Damien says. “It’s very inclusive. Where I’m talking to you from now, our Trunkwell Garden Project, for example, we’ve got people living with developmental disabilities or learning disabilities, people with mental ill health, people with physical disabilities, people with acquired brain injury, people with sight loss, people recovering from a stroke, people with other age-related conditions, and people with dementia as well as young onset dementia. All of them come together and garden in a collaborative way.” OTs who have trained with Thrive say that the courses, from the practice-based courses to the professional development diploma delivered in conjunction with Coventry University, have really benefited their work – and they go on to see their service users blossom. “One of the things that’s great about gardening as an activity is that it’s so normalising,” Damien says. “We think gardening has a real value in being something that doesn’t very often feel like therapy, and is therefore something that people with disability and ill health might engage with when they’re reluctant to engage with anything else. You might imagine someone post-stroke coming to terms with reimagining their new way of life with all sorts of frustration, and perhaps even anger about their current situation. They might be quite reluctant to accept the change that might have to happen. But gardening can change that, and could be a really valuable route to other occupations too.”

i Thrive 0118 988 5688 | enable professional

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Advice and information


KEYS TO FREEDOM When occupational therapists work with clients to find a car that suits their needs, what should they be thinking about? Not all adaptations are suitable for every type of car – it’s all about compatibility of the car and the adaptations, and how they work to meet the client’s specific mobility requirements. It’s therefore critical that customers consider the adaptations they need before choosing their car. Adaptation installers are the best people to give initial advice on which adaptations and cars might best suit your clients’ needs. Driving Mobility centres ( are also a good place to start the search for an adaptation or to arrange an assessment. If a client needs their car adapted, what kind of thing can be done? The Motability Scheme offers hundreds of adaptations, ranging from simple driving controls to person hoists to lift a wheelchair user into a standard car. If you require adaptations to help make driving or travelling easier or more comfortable, then many of the most popular ones are available at no additional cost when fitted at the start of a Motability Scheme lease. Adaptations are divided into three categories: driving, stowage and access. And what about wheelchair accessible vehicles? Most wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) are accessed by a ramp at the rear, although larger vehicles are more likely to have a lift at the rear of the vehicle. Some conversions have ramp or lift access at the side rather than the rear of the vehicle.

For some clients, a car could give them the freedom and independence that their disability sometimes takes away. If you as an OT get quizzed on picking a suitable car, where do you begin? The team at Motability Operations offer some advice

What types of car can be adapted for wheelchair access? The majority of the vehicles that are currently converted for wheelchair access are based on the passenger versions of commercial vehicles, as they tend to have more space available inside to accommodate wheelchair passengers. Some cars can be converted for wheelchair access, although they tend to offer less headroom for wheelchair passengers than other converted vehicles available. How can OTs work with clients to get the car that meets their needs? We suggest that OTs develop a relationship with their local adaptation installers to provide early advice on the type of adaptations and cars that might be suitable to meet their mobility requirements. In addition, Driving Mobility centres are able to offer advice and assessments, particularly for those clients whose mobility needs have recently changed. Where can professionals go to find out more about the Motability Scheme? Health professionals such as occupational therapists can find lots of useful resources on Motability at the charity’s website, uk/professionals. In addition, the Motability Scheme website at www. is full of useful information for customers and professionals alike. | enable professional

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Advice and information

The importance of There are around seven million carers in the UK, dedicating their spare time to supporting the needs of a disabled or older relative, friend or neighbour. So how can we make sure that carers of clients are supported too? We find out more about the benefits of short breaks, and the organisations providing them



npaid carers in the UK make an economic contribution of £132bn a year – that’s a huge sum of money, and they don’t get a lot in return. Carers Allowance currently stands at £62.10 a week – not much money for the carers who are effectively caring full-time. And caring can take its toll. Carers who provide more than 50 hours of care a week are twice as likely to report ill health, compared with those who aren’t providing care. Getting time off from caring is crucial. For those who work with disabled people, carers play a really important part, providing the support that’s required at home when you can’t be there. And it’s vital that carers are supported too. If a carer becomes unwell, who’s going to pick up the pieces?

Meet the providers Respite holidays are a popular option, both for whole families going away for a break, or the disabled person going away on their own. Here are some of the country’s biggest providers of short breaks.


REVITALISE Revitalise have three centres in England, offering accessible respite care holidays and short breaks for disabled people and carers. Care is provided, with 24-hour on-call nursing care, support from volunteers and fully accessible facilities. The organisation runs themed weeks throughout the year, as well as offering brilliant excursions and entertainment.

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Advice and information

Which is where short breaks come in. Getting time off from caring – whether that’s an hour to go to the shops or a full holiday – is really important to help carers carry on with their role.

RECHARGE “It’s a chance to get away, to have a bit of a recharge, a bit of a think,” says Laura Bennett, policy and public affairs manager at Carers Trust. “It can really help with health and wellbeing – mental health and physical health. Caring can be quite demanding, and carers can feel quite stressed or anxious. We all need breaks – whether we’re caring or not. It helps people feel relaxed, recharged and ready to carry on with their caring role.” Worryingly, 36% of carers who haven’t had short breaks since beginning their caring role experience mental ill health, compared to 17% of those who have had short break support. The physical demands can be hard to cope with too – those who are lifting the person they care for, for example, can experience back or muscle injuries, and caring full-time can make people feel tired, run down and more prone to illness. But support is out there. Short breaks, or respite, gives carers the break they rightly deserve, and it can take lots of different forms.

It can be a one-off break, a regular arrangement, a couple of hours, a full week – there’s an option to suit most families and situations. “It could be that respite is support, for example, where someone is coming into a carer’s home – a qualified care worker – who could support someone to do something like have a shower, get up and dressed and give the carer a break,” says Laura. “It could also be money or support for a carer to take

We all need breaks – whether we’re caring or not. It helps people feel relaxed, recharged and ready to carry on with their caring role

GETTING SUPPORT To get support in place, families can contact their local authority to get a carer’s assessment, and from there, recommendations will be made on the sort of support that’s appropriate and what funding is available. Carers can make a request to access short break support, whether that’s someone coming into their home for a couple of hours or a week-long break for the whole family. “Get in touch with a local carers support service too,” Laura advises. “People can find the details of their local service by going to and putting in their postcode. There isn’t necessarily a local network partner near everybody, but there are 115 of them to choose from.” Everyone is entitled to a break from time to time, whatever your background – and for families with caring responsibilities, it’s essential. Short breaks can improve relationships, let individuals recharge their batteries and help carers do what they do best – care for their loved one. If you know of a family in need of support, get the information they need and point them in the right direction – it could be what they’ve been waiting for.

a short break away from the person they care for. It could be that the carer would like to go to a support group, or to their church or temple, or it could that they would like to go and do an activity that they enjoy – like going for a walk or to their Scrabble group. It could also be a longer break – a holiday or a weekend away. There’s not necessarily one model, and it depends on what the carer would like and also what support the disabled or older person would need.”

Find out more about Carers Trust at



Calvert Trust have three accessible outdoor activity centres in England. Individuals or families can head along for some adrenalinepumping adventure activities, including sailing, archery, carriage driving, kayaking, zipwire and more. The accommodation and facilities are accessible, and most activities can be tailored to suit different needs. If specialist medical support or nursing care is required, this must be organised by the individual.

Holidays With Help have over 30 years’ experience in organising holidays for large groups of people with disabilities. Breaks are for people with disabilities and their carers, with support from trained helpers. Medical and nursing personnel are also onsite to help if needed, but 24-hour nursing care is not available. Breaks take place in a variety of locations – this year, groups have been to Blackpool, South Downs and Weston-super-Mare.

i | enable professional

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Real OTs

Working with our wounded heroes Rosie Curtis has been working as an occupational therapist at Help for Heroes’ Tedworth House recovery centre for almost three years. Here, she tells us about her experience working with injured soldiers How did you get involved with Help for Heroes? I’ve always had an interest in the military – when I was training as an occupational therapist, it was always something I was interested in. When I was at uni, in our final year we got to do an ‘emerging role’ placement, in a non-traditional setting. I met [Help for Heroes founder] Bryn Parry at a talk he was giving about his new recovery centres, and I asked him if he had a plan to put an OT in place – and I managed to wangle a placement here! I developed the role from there. Once I graduated, I was offered the job. What’s a typical day like for you? There’s definitely no typical day! It involves lots of different things. Because I’m the only OT in the charity, there’s lots of bits and pieces. I do one-to-ones with the guys and look at sleep and relaxation, use the sensory room, that kind of thing. I attend meetings, deal with emails, and I do some service development stuff as well, like coming up with new ideas on how to improve the service. What makes working with injured servicemen and women different? I’d definitely say it’s the culture – the military banter, the way that they approach things. Before working here, I worked with the NHS on a trauma and orthopaedic ward. That was mostly elderly people having hip and knee

replacements. Here, the guys and the girls are so determined to achieve their aims. They’re motivated, which makes them great to work with. Is there anything different you have to take into consideration in your work? The guys that we see here are quite complex. Rarely do we get someone here who just has a physical injury or just a psychological injury. There’s so much going on. Their whole identity has been taken away from them when they’ve been medically discharged – their career, their house, potentially their family, their friends. That’s a really complex thing to think about. In the NHS, you just look at one issue – someone who’s had a hip relacement, for example. Here, there’s a lot more going on. What do you like about your job? The guys that I work with. Helping them

to achieve their goals, hearing their stories and seeing what they achieve is amazing. That’s what makes me get up in the morning and come into work. I love the variety too. No two days are the same. One day I could be in the office writing emails on policies, the next I might be out climbing or kayaking! What have you learned during your time at Tedworth House? I’ve learned how to think on my feet, and how to adapt and make changes quickly. I could be doing a session and someone might walk in with an upper limb amputation, and they can’t sew or they can’t paint. So how do we work with that? It’s all about problem solving.

i Find out more about Help for Heroes’ work at | enable professional

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Real OTs


OVERSEAS Last October, London-based OT Katie Parker embarked on the trip of a lifetime, heading out to Malawi to share her knowledge, skills and practice at a private rehab facility and the wider community. Here, she tells us about her experience

MALAWI IS A NATION of 16.3 million people – and it’s estimated that 4.2% of the population have a disability of some description. However, for many, certain conditions go undiagnosed as healthcare provision varies hugely in this developing nation. Depending on where you live, and how much money you have, you might have no access to a diagnosis, medication or support. When paediatric OT Katie Parker headed to Malawi to spend four months working in a private clinic and doing outreach work with the wider community, she soon learned how varied things are in the African nation.

REWARDING “It was very different,” she says. “Very rewarding. It was nice being able to share some of my knowledge, and to learn from them too. I had to adapt what I would normally do in a country that didn’t have the resources I was used to.” Katie, who’s been working as an occupational therapist for five years, went to Malawi after getting in touch with OT Frontiers, a UK network of occupational therapists who have either worked in low income countries or


are keen to do so. OT Frontiers isn’t an agency, but instead acts as a platform to make connections, offer advice and share plans to enable occupational therapists to organise their own trips, and go on to share their skills, experience and expertise overseas. Thanks to the support and information from OT Frontiers, Katie was able to arrange a four-month visit to the Sandi

“I saw a lot of crocodile bites, which I wouldn’t see in London” Rehabilitation and Assessment Centre in Lilongwe, and she arranged outreach work in the local community, working with families and staff across ten different schools and nurseries. Katie was working with children with a range of different impairments – some more unusual than others.

DIAGNOSIS “I saw a lot of crocodile bites, which I wouldn’t see in London!” she says. “One

of the main things in Malawi was the lack of diagnoses. One mum said that she thought her child had broken a bone, but it was quite severe cerebral palsy. Another thought their child had something wrong with their face, but it was Down’s syndrome.” Working with limited resources, and alongside people with less knowledge – teachers in the schools were relatively untrained in special education support, and the rehab technicians in the clinic only touched on occupational therapy in their training – has taught Katie a raft of new skills, which she hopes will benefit her future career as an OT. “I learned quite a lot about myself, how I work, and how I need to adapt how I work to suit other people,” she explains. “It was nice being able to go into a different clinic and say, ‘This is what’s working, here’s what isn’t.’ I’m not really used to that management style, so it was nice to get that experience.”

i To find out more about OT Frontiers, head to

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Care better, cost less,

sleep well.

Bariatric profiling bed

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to Occupational Therapy. People are different heights, weights, and everyone has their own unique needs. They might need help sitting up, moving around, re-positioning, or getting in and out of bed, and the best solution for same basic need may be different from person to person.

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In today’s challenging economy, shortages in funding and staff time risk leaving those in need without regular care, causing sleepless nights for those suffering and those who care alike. That’s why at Nexus, we’re inviting the world of Occupational Therapy to find out how to deliver better care, at a lower cost, for a great night’s sleep.

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ACCESSIBLE HOME When making recommendations for at-home assistance for service users, the marketplace is full of fantastic products, services and features worth checking out. We take a tour through the home to see what’s out there

TELECARE Benefiting the whole home is the option of telecare systems. Some modern products are really pushing boundaries. OwnFone’s Footprint GPS tracker is a wearable location device which has an alarm element built in. The service user simply pushes the button if they are experiencing difficulties and up to three selected contacts will receive an alert. It also has a fall detection feature, two-way voice communication, movement and non-movement sensors, and it can be linked to telecare support too. You can find out more at Tracking systems for the home are also getting more advanced – some with the capacity to log in online and find out what the individual has been up to, such as Canary. This discrete monitoring system uses sensors to track where the person is – no cameras involved, respecting their privacy – while family members can log in and see where they’ve been or look out for any unusual activity. It also comes with a visitor card and scanner so any professionals popping in can swipe in to say they’ve been there. Find out more about the system at


BEDROOM In the bedroom, it’s all about the bed. Comfort and safety are key, so it’s import to make sure clients can get in and out of bed as safely as possible. Adjustable beds are a good starting point – Nexus ( and Adjustamatic ( have a great selection. These beds mean that not only can clients adjust to get a comfortable sleeping position, but it can help with getting in and out of bed safely too. A ceiling track hoist can also be helpful when it comes to manoeuvring and helping individuals get from their bed to their wheelchair.

LIVING ROOM At the heart of any home, there are plenty of products you can get for the lounge. Comfort is key – and furniture manufacturers are going above and beyond to create functional furnishings that are also attractive. Suppliers like NHC Technology (www., Oaktree Mobility ( and Repose ( all have fantastic ranges, with a variety of models available in different fabrics to suit clients’ interior design style. Riser recliner chairs and high-backed chairs, either manually or remote control operated, are on offer in a range of styles – meaning there’s something to suit all needs and preferences.

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BATHROOM AKW offer a range of clever electric showers, including the iCare iShower, which has Bluetooth capability and can be controlled by a mobile phone app which lets you set the temperature, and switch it off and on. Find out more at Consider different shower trays too – those with a lowered lip are out there to prevent trips and falls, and there’s even a rotating level-access tray on the market from Contour Showers. The Tern Tray allows individuals to shower independently or with the support of

a carer – and it can reduce time spent showering by up to a half. Find out more at Shower seats are also becoming more slimline and stylish – Impey’s Slimfold shower seat is attached to the wall and tucks away, meaning it won’t get in the way of other users. Find out more at www. Baths are getting more accessible too. The design of walk-in and power-assisted baths is improving (check out the likes of Aquability,, while bath lifts are

becoming more useable, lightweight and functional, like those available from Relaxa ( Look into wash and dry toilets too – Clos-o-Mat have a great range, including automatic shower toilets to ensure clients are at lower risk of infection. The Palma Vita model provides simultaneous flushing and showering, with the addition of warm air drying. Clos-o-Mat can also provide toilet lifts and shower chairs for use in bathrooms where a new lavatory isn’t an option. Check out the range at

MAKING ADAPTATIONS It could be the case that a client needs more than independent living aids to help them at home, and more heavy-duty adaptations might be required. From extensions housing wet rooms or downstairs bedrooms to a fully adapted kitchen, there’s so much that can be done to clients’ homes that make a huge difference to their lives. Viva Access offer training for occupational therapists to help them get to grips with the ins and outs of housing adaptations. Courses include reading plans, wheelchair housing design, ramps, lifts, kitchen adaptations, Disabled Facilities Grants and much more to demystify the adaptation process. You can find out more online at, or call 01273 251 938.

KITCHEN In the kitchen, there’s plenty to think about. Kitchen fitters, such as Design Matters, Howdens and Magnet, offer adapted kitchens, including lowered or rise and fall worktops, lowered hobs, ovens with foldaway doors and side-by-side fridge freezers. All of these design features make the space much more useable – and accessible. Check out Viva Access above to find out more about accessible design. Accessories too are important – there are lots of gadgets and aids on the market to make the kitchen a more accessible, safer environment. Think about gripping aids for opening jars from suppliers like Dycem, heat resistant aprons, kettle tippers, soft-coated cutlery, long-handled dustpans and brushes, sloped plates, easy-grip utensils, automatic jar and can openers… The list goes on. Don’t forget about alarms too – you can get talking or flashing smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and flood sensors, which are useful for service users with a variety of needs. | enable professional

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Wednesday 22nd February 2017 9am-5pm Conference

Peterborough Arena East of England Showground Peterborough PE2 6XE


Speed Sourcing 01268 206251

Register for FREE at

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product roundup When it comes to independent living, the marketplace is full of options. We take a look at some of the best products on offer for people with a variety of disabilities


CHAIR GYM SYSTEM The chair gym from Argos has a compact and portable design that uses adjustable resistance for a smooth, controlled range of motion. It has three different levels of resistance; beginner, intermediate and advanced, making it easy for anyone, of any age or fitness level, to get results, all while seated in a safe, stable, comfortable chair – with dual cushion padding for great back support. GET IT: Argos, £69.99 (

This combined shopper and rollator is a great companion for clients. With a sleek, trendy design, it offers a bit more support than a stick, but not quite as much as a traditional rollator, making it perfect for those at that in-between stage. The handle is adjustable, it has a built-in seat for breaks and the handle can be folded forward as a backrest. GET IT: Designed2Enable, £358.80 (www.designed2

MUGGI CUP AND MUG HOLDER For those who are a little unsteady on their feet or who have difficulty gripping, loading up a tray with the family’s tea order can be daunting. Which is where Muggi comes in. This innovative mug and cup holder can carry up to four cups, mugs, bottles or whatever else can fit inside, catching unwanted spillages and offering a bit more stability than a standard tray. GET IT: Muggi, £9.95 ( | enable professional

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HEWI DEMENTIA WASHBASIN German bathroom designers HEWI produce award-winning designs – and their dementia washbasin is particularly clever. Patients with dementia often need orientation aids – and this bathroom sink has coloured markings to help patients identify and understand how to use it. GET IT: HEWI, POA (

MULTI-FUNCTION FOOD PREPARATION BOARD This attractive, multi-function food preparation board by PETA (UK) is designed to assist those with weak hand function, or semi-loss of use of one hand. Providing a solution to peeling, slicing and grating, this high quality board offers increased independence at home. GET IT: Living Made Easy, £55 exc VAT (

TERN TRAY ROTATING SHOWER TRAY The Tern Tray is a powered, rotating, level access, easy-to-install shower tray for independent showering. Individuals can go for a shower either standing or using a shower seat, and the wireless fob lets the user turn the tray to get in the right position – and it’s ideal for the smallest of spaces, enabling single carer handling. GET IT: Tern Tray, POA (

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DEMENTIA LOW BED Designed in collaboration with clinical experts, the dementia low bed makes the user feel safe and secure while minimising risk of falling. The headboard, side rails and footboard of the bed are all padded too to reduce the chances of the user sustaining an injury. Get it: BaKare, POA (

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ASPEN RISER RECLINER This luxurious riser recliner from CareCo is incredibly comfortable – and available in three colours! The big buttoned handset will respond to the lightest touch to adjust the footrest, lift the occupant smoothly to a standing position and lower to a seating position too. A great choice for any living room! GET IT: CareCo, £299 (, 0800 111 4774)

BRINGING INDEPENDENCE TO THE HIGH STREET Argos working to make daily living aids easily accessible Earlier this year, Argos curated a broad range of independent living products along with buying guides, features and advice articles, available online at, to help disabled and elderly customers maintain their independence and vitality. At Argos, you will find an independent living range of products to make life a little bit

S’UP SPOON Designed by Grant Douglas, a British man who has cerebral palsy, the S’up spoon is designed specifically for people with shaky hands. It lets you tip food into your mouth rather than relying on your upper lip or teeth to pull it in. It weighs just 25g and it’s dishwasher safe. Ideal for clients with cerebral palsy, tremors and Parkinson’s. GET IT: S’up Products, £15 exc VAT (

PLUS SHOWER SEAT 450 This slim, fold-away shower seat is a great addition for any bathroom – and its sleek, modern design and nine colour choices means it’ll appeal to a wide range of service users. It can be adjusted in height as well as sideways, and comes with back and arm rests to maximise comfort. GET IT: Pressalit, POA (

easier. The range includes daily living aids such as mobility scooters and walking frames, through to ergonomic kitchen and garden gadgets, heart and blood pressure monitors, fitness equipment and riser recliner chairs. Everything can be ordered online and collected from one of over 800 Argos stores, or delivered straight to the customer’s home. Argos continues to focus on the customer by ensuring it stocks the very best products at affordable prices, and never compromises on quality or safety. Argos has taken a flexible and practical approach on ranging products based on customer feedback and built its reputation as a trusted and convenient retailer. To look at the range of Argos products, visit, or search for Argos Independent Living range. | enable professional

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Don’t worry.... be happy! “I feel like I’m sitting better than I normally would which is enabling me to do things more comfortably” “It was like my whole body had had a transformation really because the comfort is good.” “I’d forgotten what it felt like to sit somewhere comfortably... for the past three years I’ve literally either been in bed or in a wheelchair.” “It’s got to be down to the chair... It’s a strange feeling... because I’ve not experienced that (comfort) in such a long time (8-9 years).”

Choose CareFlex Specialist Seating Chairs Fit for Purpose for an Independent Life You can rely on us for holistic, expert and impartial advice. One of our experienced assessors is always willing to come with the HCP team to offer guidance and give you a free, no obligation quotation. Participant comments from the University of Salford Clinical Research 2015

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Professional development


THERAPY THROUGH YOGA Special Yoga was founded in 2005 by Jo Manuel to offer help to children with learning difficulties and special needs. Her yoga therapy centre in London is the only one of its kind in the country, with more than 150 children attending sessions each week. We found out more about the benefits of the practice for children with special needs “I DIDN’T PLAN to work with children with special needs,” admits Jo Manuel. “It just kind of evolved as part of my life. Back when I started teaching yoga, around 29 years ago, children weren’t getting diagnosed at the rate they are today, but there were a lot of children who had ADHD or something similar who were climbing out of their skin. I remember what they felt like, because I was one of them”. Special Yoga founder Jo began yoga in her twenties as a way to feel more calm and to gain control over her mind and body. “I used it to connect myself to finding inner peace, to learn to live with myself, to not feel like I had to leave my body all the time,” says Jo. “All of the things that happen to a lot of kids with special needs.” POSITIVITY Today, Jo shares her knowledge by leading training courses tailored to parents, OTs and teachers who want

to use yoga as part of a therapeutic practice. Jo believes that teaching yoga to children is a positive starting point that can improve their quality of life. “It’s important that we meet them as children rather than as disabled people,” explains Jo. “We’re looking at what they can do and not what they can’t do.”

If you are sitting with someone who is breathing deeply and is very calm, it changes the whole environment She advocates adapting the practice for each individual child to bring them to their calmest state. And for Jo, this all starts with breathing. “Your breath changes your emotions and your emotions change your breath,” explains Jo. “It tells the story of your emotional state.” But it’s not just the

child’s breathing that’s important – Jo says that as a carer or professional, your own calmness is contagious. “I have a child with additional needs. I know that my state impacts her,” says Jo. “If you are sitting with someone who is breathing deeply and is very calm, it changes the whole environment.” IMPROVEMENT Jo says she’s seen huge improvements when children discover awareness of themselves and their bodies through yoga. “We’ve seen kids who were literally hanging from the rafters now sitting down calmly on a mat,” says Jo. “The feedback from the parents is that the kids sleep better, they have more body awareness, they are less reactive and more regulated.” But Jo claims it’s not just the children’s lives that can be transformed. “I haven’t worked with an OT that hasn’t thought yoga is a phenomenal practice,” says Jo. “All of them have said that it has changed the way they feel about themselves and the way they feel about the children. Yoga is just a set of tools – and you can always build your tool box.”

i For more information on OT training schemes with Special Yoga, head to | enable professional

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product roundup

KIDS' EDITION If you work with children, there’s a massive range of innovative, useful products on the market to aid their development. Here’s our pick of some of the best

SPINNING CONE The spinning cone from Rompa is a really fun toy that helps meet the needs of youngsters with sensory processing problems. Movements like spinning can help children with sensory issues feel calmer and safer, so this giant spinning top fits the bill. GET IT: Rompa, £60 exc VAT (, 01246 211 777)

JENX MONKEY PRONE STANDER This simple height-adjustable system is a great introduction to standing for kids aged nine months to four years. The wide-angle range is a great way of building tolerance to standing as part of a therapy programme, with great support for the chest, hips and legs to make standing easier for kids who might struggle – and the cute monkey design is a huge hit with little ones too. GET IT: Jiraffe, POA ( uk, 0114 285 3376)

• EMOTI DOLLS These clever dolls can be used to teach and explain emotions to children. With pliable eyebrows and mouths, you can show at least 15 different facial expressions – and there are no batteries involved! This is a fantastic way of developing understanding of facial expressions, empathy and emotions. GET IT: Special Needs Toys, £16.95 each (www.


LION SHOULDER WEIGHT This bright, friendly-looking lion shoulder weight from Play to Z provides a calming, soothing effect when worn round the shoulders. Good for kids with sensory processing disorders, learning disabilities, autism and more, this is a great accessory for many families in need of additional sensory support. GET IT: Play to Z, £40 (, 01206 796 722)

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d i g n i t y

b i b s

The functional and stylish solution for older children, teenagers and adults who have difficulties with drooling and dribbling. Hand made in Nottingham, UK BibblePlus Bandana Bibs are available in 4 sizes and come in a range of colours and designs to suit every taste and enhance any outfit. Our new range of practical feeding bibs are perfect for meal times and for those looking for something a little more avant-guard check out our super smart dining bibs OFF 1ST ORDER USE CODE





Here at Jiraffe we specialise in bringing you innovative paediatric postural support and service products. Our range covers all aspects of everyday life from seating and standing to mobility, sleeping, therapy and bathroom products too.






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Professional development

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 2017 There’s lots going on for OTs to get involved with in the months ahead. We’ve rounded up the events and exhibitions worth checking out





Croydon Conference Centre, London Moving and Handling People South is a fantastic CPD-certified event. Now in its 23rd year in London, the event will have a special focus promoting vigilance in identifying manual handling risks and how to minimise them. With a range of presentations and workshops on offer, delegates have the chance to visit all sessions across the two days.

NEC Birmingham The Occupational Therapy Show will be returning to Birmingham’s NEC for two days of the best exhibitors, guest speakers and workshops for OTs. The event welcomed more than 4,500 OTs in 2016, so it’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded professionals and learn from some of the best in the business. Keep an eye on the website for registration info for 2017.


JANUARY •IIC29-30 SHOW Manchester Central The IIC Show is a huge trade and consumer event, promoting inclusion, independence and choice for people of mixed ability, and those who work with them. You can check out exhibitors specialising in motoring, education, sport, adaptations, products and advice, and there’s a Recruitment Zone too, where you can explore professional opportunities.



ADAPTATIONS CONFERENCE Osprey Hotel and Spa, Naas, Ireland OTAC’s fourth conference offers a range of exhibitors and seminars to help OTs get up to date with the latest equipment and adaptation guidance to aid you in your role. Get inspired by respected speakers, demonstrations and exhibitors – and get networking too! Check out the full calendar of events for 2017, with dates in Cardiff, Reading, Edinburgh and Newcastle.


NEC, Birmingham The UK’s leading independent living exhibition, Naidex is jam-packed with exhibitors, seminars and workshops to inform and inspire those working in the healthcare sector. With 150 expert speakers and more than 250 exhibitors, it’s a really busy show, with plenty to engage with – one definitely worth checking out.

KIDZ TO ADULTZ Disabled Living’s renowned Kidz to Adultz exhibitions are well worth checking out for professionals. With events taking place in Coventry (Middle, 16 March), Reading (South, 8 June), Cardiff (Wales, TBA July) and Edinburgh (Scotland, 15 September) and Manchester (North, TBA November). There are opportunities for professionals nationwide working with children and young people to meet up with suppliers and organisations and attend CPDcertified seminars. Register free for your nearest event now.

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Profile for DC Publishing

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