“Occupational Therapy Could Save the NHS”
Occupational Therapists could be the answer to some of the NHS and social care systems’ problems, says Julia Scott, the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.
Occupational Therapists provide patients with support in regards to building self-reliance once leaving hospital, rather than consistently having to rely on services. They evaluate a person’s home environment by examining challenges that they might face and provide solutions for how these can be overcome. This therefore means that by integrating occupational therapy services with the NHS hospital admissions will be reduced, delayed discharges will be decreased and readmissions can be prevented.
Data from the Royal College of Occupational Therapy shows that unnecessary A&E admissions can be cut by up to 80% by putting occupational therapists at the frontline of the NHS. By doing so, delayed transfers of care can also be reduced by eight days. In a recent study by the Royal College of occupational therapists, it was found that “occupational therapy is the only category where additional spending has a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates”.
By having Occupational Therapists integrated with social care it will ensure “higher quality, person-centred services at lower overall cost”. It has been identified that although 40% of social care referrals require attention from occupational therapists, they only make up 2% of the workforce, so by increasing the number of occupational therapy staff, a lot more can be done to benefit the NHS.