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Friday, 23 June 2017

Occupational Therapy students come up with new service idea to help stroke patients

Written by The Editorial Team

Stroke patients are benefiting from an idea two Essex occupational therapy students came up with during a placement at Colchester General Hospital.

A Cognitive Stimulation Room has been established on the Stroke Unit where stroke patients go for cognitive assessment and rehabilitation.

It is the idea of Lisa Allsop and Doreen Fitzgerald, occupational therapy students at the University of Essex, who both spent a two-month placement at the hospital. Their suggestion was taken forward by the six occupational therapists based on the Stroke Unit.

Special resources, both paper-based and online, have been bought with money provided by Health Education England (HEE) to improve the learning environment for students.

Carrie Hunt, senior occupational therapist, said: “Lisa and Doreen were asked to suggest a service improvement when they were with us and proposed a Cognitive Stimulation Room.

“Their idea was taken on and developed by the occupational therapists on the unit, and the facility has now been established in a room that in the past was used mainly to store wheelchairs.

“Many patients have cognitive deficiencies because of their stroke and the room is located on a quiet part of the Stroke Unit where patients can be assessed and then undergo rehabilitation.”

As well as benefiting the patients, the specialist resources have enabled the students to be exposed to different therapies and to have the opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge within a complex area.

The Cognitive Stimulation Room has a computer which previously was not used but which now runs online software designed to help assess and provide an alternative medium for cognitive rehabilitation.

One of the items funded was a clock that also gives the date, month and year, and states whether it is morning or afternoon. Because the Cognitive Stimulation Room is an unfamiliar environment for patients, it is important that patients know what day, date and time it is.

Pictured - From left: Occupational therapy students Lisa Allsop and Doreen Fitzgerald with senior occupational therapists Emma Sutton and Carrie Hunt.