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Occupational Therapy teams are providing patients with a range of useful aids to support their independence thanks to a collaboration with NHS Kent and Medway.

The project allows the Occupational Therapy teams at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to provide items for patients of all ages including dressing aids, elastic shoelaces and adapted cutlery that patients would normally have to supply for themselves.

The Occupational Therapy teams chose which equipment to buy, ensuring that the items are most appropriate for their patients. Those benefiting from the initiative include patients who have had orthopaedic surgery (surgery for conditions affecting the bones and joints) and stroke patients who may need additional support while they recover. Patients in intensive care also benefit from using aids including theraputty which helps strengthen muscles in weak hands, and hydration bottles which allow them to drink independently.

Each patient is assessed while they are in hospital, or by the Therapy-Assisted Discharge Service (TADS) who provide equipment if they’re seeing patients at home. They are then given suitable items, perhaps adapted cutlery to help them eat independently, or aids to help them get dressed, which they can use and take home with them.

This extra support helps them improve their independence and wellbeing. Occupational therapy is an important part of the recovery and rehabilitation process for patients, helping support them to do everyday activities and enabling them to lead a full and independent life. The aids may be used temporarily while the patient recovers, perhaps from a hip replacement or other surgery, or over a longer period depending on the patient’s needs.

Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist, Lynsey Frroku, said: “It’s great to have access to these items that we can provide for our patients. A core value of occupational therapy is promoting independence and that’s exactly what this project is enabling us to do.”

Doug McLaren, Associate Director of Integrated Care Commissioning for the West Kent Health and Care Partnership, said: “We’re glad to be able to support MTW in making sure that our patients have good access to some of the smaller things that make a big difference in maintaining independence and getting home safely”.