A view from Oak Lodge: an Occupational Therapist’s blog

Rosie Longshaw has worked at our CQC Outstanding-rated Oak Lodge independent hospital in Bolton for nearly a year. Before that she worked at a low secure unit for three years – after qualifying as an occupational therapist (OT). Here she reflects on her year at Oak Lodge.

“As an OT I am passionate about providing opportunities for people to engage in a range of meaningful activities which support their mental and physical health. I want everyone at Oak Lodge to increase their independence and build a life for themselves outside of hospital which is purposeful and meaningful to them.

Developing insight and coping strategies

It is incredible to see the progress people make here in terms of developing insight and coping strategies to manage their mental health and building independent living skills, so they can move on to less supported environments.

Complete collaboration

At Oak Lodge we aim to have the service users involved in every aspect of their care. We aim for complete collaboration between staff and service users to promote feelings of hope, control and ownership.

For example, our service users chair our morning meetings and we have regular meetings with them to ensure the group timetable of activities is meeting their needs. Service users and staff also write reflections after each group meeting to help improve quality.

“It’s the little things that matter”

We encourage service users to co-facilitate groups, and care plans are written with service users and in their own words. And it’s the little things that matter. For example, service users pick their own decorative items we buy for the unit i.e. pillows and throws for our lounges.

Quarterly newsletter

They are encouraged to create pictures and art that can be displayed on the walls. We have a quarterly newsletter which our service users contribute to and have complete control over the content including interviews with staff, moving-on stories and photos of our leisure activities.

All our service users are encouraged and supported to engage in community activities which will help them when they move on in terms of providing them with a role, a structured routine and the opportunity to develop social networks.

Volunteering

We now have people volunteering at cafes, charity shops and at a car garage. We also have people attending a recovery college in Manchester as well as regular sports groups such as boxing and football.”