'Occupation' refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure.

What do occupational therapists do?

Occupational therapists are skilled professionals who find solutions to everyday problems. For example, advising patients on approaching a task differently, using equipment or assistive technology, adapting their living or working environment, and finding strategies to reach their chosen goals.
We consider all needs of the patient - physical, psychological, social and environmental. This support can make a real difference to their life, giving them a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way they feel about the future.

Who do occupational therapists see at Royal Papworth Hospital?

This list is not exhaustive, but includes:

  • Those who were not coping at home before they came into hospital. 
  • Those who have had a stroke or a new neurological diagnosis e.g. MS, MND. 
  • Those who are less independent after their cardiothoracic surgery/intervention. 
  • Those who are terminally ill and want to get home as soon as possible.     
  • Taking part in regular Breathlessness clinics, for those who require advice on energy conservation techniques. 
  • Those who are newly diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), then for annual reviews.  

The service runs from 07:30 - 16:30 Monday to Friday, with one occupational therapist providing a service from 08:00 - 16:00 on Saturdays. 

Currently the department accepts undergraduate physiotherapists on placement from the University of East Anglia and University of Essex, as well as MSc students.

Continuous Professional Development

  • Internal courses: transplant study day; pulmonary endarterectomy study day; leadership training; manager's finance course; line manager's update; conversations for managers; Datix training; quality improvement programme training. 
  • External courses: Mary Seacole Leadership Programme; functional electrical stimulation for upper limb; Edward Jenner leadership programme; 20/20 leadership; critical care study day and network events; Royal College of Occupational Therapists major health conditions study days; seating and posture study day. 
  • Conferences: Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery 
  • MSc (under way): Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Specialist group membership: East of England Critical Care Group; Royal College of Occupational Therapists major health conditions

Posters at conferences

'All About Me' pre-assessment questionnaire at Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery (Glasgow 2018)