Working life: Anne O’Hea, occupational therapist

Anne O’Hea, occupational therapist at Mercy University Hospital, Cork.

Working life: Anne O’Hea, occupational therapist

8am

I cycle to work at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH), Cork, which takes about 10 minutes.

8.15am

I usually go to the Emergency Department first thing in the morning (pilot service).

Occupational therapists work on the activities that everyone takes for granted in their daily lives until something happens that makes those activities difficult to complete.

My role is to assess patients who are medically well and do not need admission.

Many of these patients are frail and elderly and live alone. I link them in with community teams and help them access equipment which will make them safer at home.

10am

Most of the patients I work with are in-patients, who have a range of physical difficulties.

For instance, at the moment, one of my patients is an amputee and in this case I work along with the rest of the team to help the patient adapt to a new way of managing everyday tasks.

I regularly complete pre-discharge home visits to assess patient’s ability to manage at home and would often refer patients to our community occupational therapy colleagues or for further rehabilitation in St Finbarr’s Hospital.

11am

We have a lot of patients with cognitive impairment and part of my role would be to asses their ability to manage at home. We have a kitchen where we can assess their cognitive skills in relation to a task they would complete at home. A lot of my work involves working with the rest of the team and with family members.

1pm

I have lunch in the hospital canteen or I take a stroll into town.

2pm

One afternoon a week is given over to our dementia project, part of the Cork IDEAS project to improve and integrate dementia care in MUH and the community. This involves working with other hospital staff to make environmental changes to improve the hospital experience for patients with dementia. These include simpler signage, orientation cues and more homely areas for sitting and walking.

3pm

I also work in St Francis’ Unit, MUH’s transitional care unit at St Mary’s Gurranabraher, where patients are medically well, but need more time before returning home.

My role here involves rehabilitation and discharge planning.

4.45pm

I head home. Downtime may involve gym classes or yoga.

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