Gillian Walker, an Occupational Therapist at Northern Ireland Hospice, Belfast, has won this year’s Cosyfeet OT Award. The £1000 award will help fund a pioneering project to increase falls awareness among Day Hospice patients, and among staff, volunteers and families who assist them.
The award money will be used by the OT team to create and promote interactive sessions of benefit to day patients with life limiting conditions such as cancer, COPD and MND, many of whom are at great and increasing risk of falls. Such patients are often referred to Day Hospice having received no falls prevention education.
The planned sessions will cover key areas including home safety, foot care, footwear, safe mobilisation, eye sight, equipment and adaptations within the home, how to get up from a fall, exercise and community services. An information pack will be provided to consolidate learning and to facilitate sharing of information with family and carers.
“We plan to make the sessions lively and interactive, encouraging group discussion and peer support,” says Gillian. “A range of equipment will be available for people to try, such as walking aids, chair raisers, leg lifters, long handled aids and specialist footwear.”
The sessions will be evaluated using patient surveys, with the resulting information being used to improve future practice.
The Cosyfeet OT Award assists OTs and OT students to develop their professional knowledge and skills while benefitting others. The award is open to those who are planning voluntary work, a work placement or research, whether in the UK or abroad.
“We’re delighted to assist Gillian in her vital provision of falls awareness education at Northern Ireland Hospice,” says Cosyfeet Managing Director, Andrew Peirce. “Falls awareness is such a huge issue for us in the UK at the present time. For Day Hospice patients, preserving QOL through effective falls prevention measures is of key importance.”
For more information about the Cosyfeet OT Award see http://www.cosyfeet.com/professionals.