THE Royal Oldham Hospital has joined forces with Age UK Oldham in a bid to help patients in the community stay independent.
Nearly 4,000 patients per year are referred to the occupational therapy inpatient and outpatient services at The Royal Oldham Hospital. Many of these patients would benefit from a range of equipment and aids to assist them with daily living and maintaining independence.
Most aids are provided by the occupational therapy team free of charge, but smaller aids often need to be privately purchased by the patient or their family. These can range from exercise balls and bands to maintain grip strength, to adapted cutlery to make eating meals at hospital or home easier; dressing aids to maintain independence and dignity and magnifying sheets to read books and magazines.
Several patients asked if they could buy items directly from the occupational therapy department as this would be easier for them. This prompted Deborah Hutcheson-Davey, occupational therapy site lead, to review how the service which The Royal Oldham Hospital provides could be improved to make it easier for patients that would benefit from purchasing these smaller independence and dignity aids.
She approached Age UK Oldham as they have two retail outlets in Oldham offering people the opportunity to try, see and buy from a wide range of equipment to assist with daily living.
Together the two organisations are now promoting the support which Age UK can offer patients in the Oldham and Rochdale areas, and at special awareness events at The Royal Oldham Hospital, a stall will highlight a range of small aids which patients and visitors can buy to promote independence. There will also be the opportunity for visitors to the stall to test and purchase items.
The stall which will be located on the ground floor of the hospital, at the end of the glass entrance tunnel near the large clock, will be open from Monday 6 November until Friday 10 November from 9am until 4pm.
Deborah said: “We are looking forward to trialling a new way of working with our community partners for the benefit of our patients. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, Age UK Oldham, hospital volunteers and members of the quality improvement team at The Royal Oldham Hospital will be available on the stall to talk to patients and relatives about the support Age UK can offer, and identify which products will be the most useful to patients.
“Depending on the feedback we get, we will look to roll out the service so that patients can buy certain products directly from us as soon as possible.”
Julie McBride from Age UK Oldham, said: “Age UK Oldham are always looking at ways to improve accessibility to people experiencing illness and this event will be a great opportunity for people to see a range of specially selected equipment and aids.
“If you or someone you know finds opening bottles a battle, struggles with socks, tussles with taps, or toils with tablets then come along to the stall. There is a vast array of products continually being developed to make life easier, with many people not realising the positive impact even small aids can make on their independence. Our trained friendly staff will be on hand to offer their expertise and knowledge on these products, as well as offering practical solutions and basic tips.”
Alison Schofield, quality improvement project manager, said: “The occupational therapy team, volunteers and members of the quality improvement team are really looking forward to this trial, meeting the public and patients as they move through our hospital and getting some time to chat about information or equipment that may help out at a difficult time. We are keen to see whether we can do something new, providing a service that will make life a little easier for our patients and visitors.”
Pictured left to right: Deborah Hutcheson-Davey and Alison Jones, associate OT, are pictured with some of the aids that will be available on the stall.