The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has launched its second substantive report, ‘Living, Not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people in Northern Ireland’ as part of its Improving Lives Saving Money campaign to tackle unprecedented pressure on the social care system.
In its report the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT), which represents 32,000 occupational therapists working across the health and social care sector in the UK and 1,000 in Northern Ireland, calls for an end to the postcode lottery for access to occupational therapy in Northern Ireland.
This will give older people back their dignity and help the health and social care system in Northern Ireland work better and be more efficient.
Centre-stage in the report are a series of recommendations that would see Local Commissioning Groups identify a named person to action and report on outcomes in three key areas:
Kate Lesslar, RCOT’s Northern Ireland Policy Officer, said: “We do not want a society where people talk of simply existing and not truly living.
“Too many health and social care services tell people what social care they will get based on what it is most efficient to provide instead of asking what they really need, leading to costs arising elsewhere in the health and social care system.
“The Royal College of Occupational Therapists argues that doing the right thing for individuals can actually reduce their need for expensive long-term care by enabling them to stay as active, independent and safe as possible in the community.
“Occupational therapists are in a unique position as the only professional group qualified to work across health and social care services, allowing them to understand how people are already managing the consequences of frailty and ill health inside and outside of hospitals.
“Our new report shows that in Northern Ireland there are some really innovative examples where the intelligent deployment of occupational therapy services has enhanced the lives of older people through better care while delivering significant cost savings for the taxpayer.”
The evidence base for the report was taken from a series of case studies that demonstrate how, with the enhanced support of occupational therapists, older people can receive better and tailored support that saves money for the taxpayer.
To read the Living, Not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people in Northern Ireland report and case studies, go to http://bit.ly/2txWaRu