Occupational therapy experts from the University of Ulster visited Stormont ‘s Long Gallery this week to take part in a showcase event highlighting the contribution of occupational therapy to Northern Ireland’s healthcare environment.
Dr Patricia McClure, Associate Head of the School of Health Sciences, senior lecturer Dr Alison Porter-Armstrong and lecturer Dr May Stinson joined professional colleagues from across Northern Ireland at the VIP event attended by MLAs and Health Minister Edwin Poots.
Organised by the College of Occupational Therapists in partnership with the NI Occupational Therapy Management Forum, the event head presentations and saw posters from a wide variety of projects, ranging from autism issues, through reablement, postural symmetry , stroke related issues, palliative care, to hip replacement issues and more
The University of Ulster is the only provider of occupation therapy education in Northern Ireland, said Dr McClure:
“At the University of Ulster we work closely with practitioners and managers throughout Northern Ireland to develop the evidence base for the profession.
“Today, some of our work is being showcased, and everyone will be able to see examples of research projects currently under way at the University.
Researcher Dr May Stinson is working at Musgrave Park Hospital with patients who have spinal cord injuries, looking at ways in which patients can help themselves avoid developing pressure ulcers .
“We’re hoping to find user-friendly alternatives to the traditional methods that have been taught,” she said
Dr Alison Porter-Armstrong said that the clinicians she worked with in Craigavon and at Whiteabbey were very supportive of the work going on at the University
“We’re making a big difference to how clinicians use and access University research expertise for the benefit of their patients.”
For Dr Patricia McClure, the role of occupational therapy and therapists is becoming increasingly important as the demographic profile of the population ages: “With our ageing population, there is a greater need than ever before for occupational therapists.,” she said.
“And with the increasing drive to help elderly folk live at home for as long as possible, it is every more important that we have a proper complement of occupational therapy professionals employed in community healthcare settings in order to improve people’s quality of life and sustain their independence for as long as possible.