Posted on 07/07/2015

COT 2015 - an experience to remember

COT 2015 - an experience to remember

Who: Rachel Seabrook – Clinical Services Lead
What: College of Occupational Therapy 39th Annual Conference 2015
Where: Brighton

Experiencing COT 2015
Despite being an Occupational Therapist (OT) for over 20 years, it had been at least 10 since I attended our annual professional conference. However, in my time working for NRS Healthcare, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many other OT’s across our community equipment contracts – each working in different areas of practice – and I therefore felt the need to gain an insight into the profession across the country. Additionally, we have lots to shout about right now, with the launch of our Safe+Well™ service for people who need more advice and information before buying daily living aids. So, with that in mind, we submitted an abstract for a poster presentation on Safe+Well™ and were thrilled when it was accepted by the conference committee.


As a double incentive to attend, I was also invited by the College of OT’s Director of Professional Operations, Julia Skelton, to take part in the key note speech for the Social Care conference stream.

An inspired speech from Ruby Wax
Myself and 2 of our NRS OT’s, based in Doncaster and Buckinghamshire, set off for Brighton on the hottest week of the Summer so far and arrived in time for the Key Note speech from Ruby Wax, the comedienne and psychotherapist, who was fantastic at explaining how the Mindfulness approach and “self-regulation” had helped her to manage her depression and mental health difficulties.

COT2015 ice cream

Work hard, play hard
The sessions I focused on most during the conference talked about OT’s making a real difference with regards to efficiencies in social care – double handed care projects, reablement, case managing, preventing residential care admissions and using telecare. OT’s are definitely punching above their weight – they make up under one quarter of the workforce in social care but take over 45% of the referrals!

The exhibition was a great place to eat, drink and learn the latest developments in equipment and services to support OT’s.

The social aspect of the conference didn’t disappoint either – I sat on Sara Fosters (chair of council) table at the gala dinner and enjoyed talking to OT’s from Ireland, The Netherlands and the newest Fellows of the college. US OT’s can certainly party well too – the dance floor was never empty!

COT2015 Gala Dinner

Continuing to accomplish our goals
I personally met with lots of colleagues and friends from my past life in social care and my current life in the private sector. The passion, professionalism and enthusiasm people have for their role as an OT really showed in the conversations and discussions we had during the 3 days.

OT’s really are making a difference to the lives of older people, children and families, people with learning difficulties and disabled people. We have, in the past, been a misunderstood or “invisible” healthcare profession – but it’s clear that with the Care Act implementation and austerity cuts taking place that NOW is our time to shine. We are experts at prevention, independence, wellbeing, creative solutions, outcomes, person centred practice to name but a few – we just need to evidence our effectiveness and then shout about it!

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