Bridging the Gap with Bethlem O.T.s

Mind in Croydon has beeen working closely with Occupational Therapists (O.T.s) at the Bethlem to support people back into the community.

O.T. Lisa Wheble decribes this new iniative.

Bridging the Gap

As a part of supporting the move for people out of hospital into the community the Occupational Therapy (OT) staff at the Bethlem have been linking up with Mind in Croydon's Fairfield Club who have been opening their doors to those who are close to discharge to visit the club and explore what it has to offer. The Fairfield Club provides a friendly and supportive environment for a lot of people, and provides an important role in bridging the gap between the ward and the community.

Over the last few years, the OTs at the Bethlem have been developing groups and other interventions that focus on supporting individuals in engaging in socially inclusive activities within their community. Groups that focus on supporting people’s discharge involve ‘a Moving on Group’, ‘Community Links sessions’ and coping skills support, all aimed at gearing up service users with confidence and the skills to feel prepared for discharge from the ward and to manage the first few months of discharge home, which can often be the most difficult. Closer links with the Fairfield club has helped to make these steps more achievable.

OTs' focus on ‘Occupation’ remains at the core of all interventions, “the primary focus of OT intervention is a client’s engagement in self-care, productivity, and/or play/leisure activities.” (Pollack et al, 1990). The Fairfield club supports people to further maintain and develop these important areas within the community.

The community Links sessions, particularly visits to the Club, have been a great success. We have been warmly welcomed by both staff and members and been given time for the visitors to have a quality induction to the club and all the facilities there. These visits have allowed people to make up their own mind if they would like to become a member and also make, what for some, can be a daunting step of having to get to places on their own after discharge.

Feedback has been really positive from both visitors and staff. We now have a number of people that were supported within the Community Links sessions who regularly attending the Club and getting a lot of benefit from so doing.

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