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Occupational therapists can help to humanise UK social care system

Friday 21st July 2017
Occupational therapists can help to prevent the UKs social care system from becoming dehumanised, a new report states. Image: DGLimages via iStock
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The UK's social care system needs to stop dehumanising patients as a result of budget struggles, a new report urges.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has published a report entitled 'Living not existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people', which calls on the government and health service to end the barriers that are currently preventing everyone from accessing funded occupational therapy.

Occupational therapists can help social care patients to stay independent and continue to live the best-quality life possible in light of their individual circumstances, but not all those in the system are currently granted access to this support.

As a result, the RCOT wants the government to recognise the value that occupational therapists can bring to the lives of these patients, outlining three key recommendations in its report.

The first concerns ending the inequality surrounding this issue, while the second calls for more opportunities for occupational therapists within primary care, as this could help to ensure potentially degenerative health problems are spotted early on, preventing them from worsening and requiring already overstretched social care resources.

Lastly, the third recommendation states that occupational therapists should play a more central role in leading the development of both person and community-centred services for older people. Again, the RCOT believes that bringing in the expertise of these healthcare professionals will help more people to be able to stay active and independent in their communities for longer.

Julia Scott, chief executive of the RCOT, commented: "Too often, rather than seeing a whole person, social care services simply see a set of care needs which need to be addressed. Because of their unique set of skills, occupational therapists are perfectly placed to change this.

"For too long, we have collectively wrung our hands and exclaimed that something has to be done to 'fix' the social care system. Now is that time."

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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