For those who have seen and encountered the harsh reality of war in recent and old conflicts, feelings of comfort and safety are hard to reach and psychological issues including anxiety, stress and depression can be paramount. Help for Heroes has embraced Occupational Therapy (OT) as an important part of the recovery process.
In the same way that it is important to keep physically fit during the recovery process for a wounded member of the Armed Forces, it is equally important to maintain a healthy mind. Rosie, full time Occupational Therapist based at Tedworth House Recovery Centre, works with those who are suffering from a physical or psychological illness (including common mental health disorders) to improve their physical and psychological wellbeing through well-known OT practices. This week marks Occupational Therapy week and Rosie will be highlighting the importance of OT through various activities and sessions at Tedworth House. This includes relaxation workshops, sensory room sessions, wheelchair obstacle courses, animation workshops and basket weaving. The theme of this year’s OT week is Living Life to the Fullest.
OT is the only health and social care registered profession to work across physical disability and mental health. OT takes a whole-person approach to health and wellbeing, enabling individuals to achieve their full potential. Rosie provides practical support to enable people to facilitate recovery and overcome any barriers that prevent them from doing the activities (occupations) that matter to them. This includes advising on approaching a task differently, using equipment or assistive technology, adapting living or working environment, and finding strategies to help reach chosen goals. Rosie considers all needs - physical, psychological, social and environmental, to improve function. This support can make a real difference to a person’s life, giving them a renewed sense of purpose, opening up new horizons, and changing the way they feel about the future.
Rosie explained: “High levels of fatigue brought on by sleep disturbance particularly affects the wounded, injured and sick community’s ability to engage in courses, therapy and other recovery activities that Tedworth House has to offer. OT is a discipline that aims to promote health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful activities, an aim mirrored by the mission of Help for Heroes Recovery Centres. At H4H, OT focusses mainly on improving function and wellbeing through interventions to help improve their quality and quantity of sleep; as well as their ability to relax.”
A multi-sensory room, a specially designed room which is both a soothing and stimulating environment, was officially opened at Tedworth House in October 2014. The multi-sensory room uses various multi-sensory stimuli to help ‘trip’ various responses in people; for example the relaxation response.
Rosie explained: “I help them identify their ideal sensory environment which supports them hugely as they begin on their road to recovery. More and more members of our Armed Forces will come forward with psychological injuries and this sensory room is well placed to assist our heroes with the new challenges they face.
“Those who have been injured (mentally or physically) are still learning to live their new lives, are going to grow old and their needs are going to change. OT is well placed to assist ‘Our Blokes’ with this new chapter.
“Psychological support is a cornerstone of what we do here at H4H in terms of aiding recovery and Occupational Therapy is playing a leading role in ensuring all our heroes have a healthy mind and are inspired to lead fulfilling lives.”