Therapy Care’s Occupational Therapist, Jeannette Nielsen, has been supporting people to live more comfortably for 15 years.
Jeannette defines the purpose of incorporating occupational therapy into your NDIS plan as finding ways — inclusive of therapy and physical aids, to assist in all areas of life from when you wake up to when you go to sleep.
“Occupational therapy can help participants achieve all sorts of goals, including being more independent with personal care, transport and travel, making breakfast, getting dressed, handling money, participating in leisure activity, cooking and cleaning,” says Jeannette.
Receiving Occupational Therapy support gives you the ability to eliminate physical barriers and limiting beliefs by introducing a combination of therapy, devices and assistive technology that support your day-to-day movements.
While Jeannette has worked with Australians from all walks of life in community aged care and private hospital rehabilitation wards, she has found her passion in working with people living with disability, as there’s so much opportunity to improve each participant’s quality of life.
“I love working in this space because every participant has different needs and it’s extremely rewarding to find the therapies and assistive technology that support participants to live more independently,” says Jeannette.
To holistically assess and make a meaningful impact on each participant’s quality of life, Jeannette undertakes both at home and in clinic support services.
During these assessments, Janette investigates all possible forms of therapeutic intervention, including therapy and assisted living supports and technology, to find the right fit for each participant.
“There are so many variables that need to be considered when finding the right solution for each participant. Within each assessment I consider each participant’s lifestyle, abilities, barriers, goals, behaviours and interests, and make recommendations on different activities or assistive technology that, when incorporated effectively, improve the participant’s quality of life,” says Jeannette.
One participant may have a goal of gaining more independence with their personal care, while another may want to increase their money handling and budgeting skills. Jeannette plays a different yet vital role in each scenario.
Jeannette has provided quality support to various members in the Therapy Care community.
A recent participant Jeannette was seeing is David*. David lives with an acquired brain injury and physical ataxia; where the brain knows what to do, but sends the wrong messages to different areas of the body.
“David’s main goal was being able to get dressed independently, specifically being able to put on his shoes and socks,” says Jeannette.
Jeannette worked with him for six months, breaking down the process into achievable steps they together worked to achieve. As they progressed so did the way Jeannette offered support. It was at first more hands on to demonstrate the movements, and then progressed to verbal feedback and encouragement. Jeannette also looked down the compensatory root and supplied the participant with elastic shoelaces to bring him a step closer to achieving his goal.
“David is incredibly proud of achieving this goal and the independence it brings,” says Jeannette.
This is a really great example of how occupational therapy looks at goals holistically and combines therapy with methods of intervention.
Another participant Jeannette has been seeing regularly is Sharon*. Sharon lives with rheumatoid arthritis which has caused her an immense amount of discomfort and at times been debilitating.
Jeannette identified that Sharon was in need of assistive technology to support her with personal care and getting in and out of bed.
She was also in need of a scooter to increase community access, and a new mattress so that when her condition allows, Sharon could sleep more comfortably.
Jeannette supported Sharon’s application for these devices through the NDIS and once approved, Sharon slept for 12 hours straight — something she can’t ever remember doing!
Jeannette loves being an occupational therapist as her career is made up of making small to large adjustments that can make the greatest impact on someone’s life.
Jeannette loves being a part of the Therapy Care community, particularly the high level of care and collaboration poured into each participant’s NDIS plan.
“Therapy Care well and truly go above and beyond to ensure the team is doing everything we can to support each participant to reach their NDIS goals and support them to live more independently.
“Every member of the Therapy Care team knows each participant they support so well and are so invested in their NDIS journey,” says Jeannette.
To find out more about occupational therapy, please get in touch with us today: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*David and Sharonare not the real names of the participants mentioned. The participant chose to remain anonymous in this piece.