A day in the life of a Therapy Technician

Therapy Technicians facilitate rehabilitation sessions as instructed by qualified Speech and Language, Physiotherapy, Psychology and Occupational therapy colleagues. A vital link between the interdisciplinary therapy team and Rehabilitation Assistants, they have a role in handing over guidelines and goals which come from the MDT. Six Therapy Technicians are based full time at Christchurch Group, providing daily therapy activities to residents across the Group.

Hannah Venn has worked as a Therapy Technician in Orchard House, Oxford since November 2015. We spoke to Hannah about her role.

“At Orchard House in Harwell I facilitate therapy sessions, set by the interdisciplinary team, which support individuals with everyday tasks to promote their independence and improve their quality of life. This can be speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy or psychology. I have a degree in BSc. (Hons) Sports Therapy from Edge Hill University, where I graduated from in July 2015.

I start my day by catching up on anything that may have happened overnight at the centre.
I arrive amongst the morning activity of the house – assisting with transfers (such as from bed to wheelchair) or chatting with the residents during breakfast in the dining room. Even though my day is timetabled, I ensure I have time to go and spend with each resident to catch up with them. Although a professional relationship is vital in my role, being able to laugh and joke with the residents is as important.

In the morning I carry out 3 – 4 sessions with individuals, depending if they involve an outing. Many of our residents have activities outside the centre such as attending the gym, swimming or social groups. I help facilitate these activities, promoting the resident’s independence where possible.

A typical physiotherapy session comprises of basic and more advanced motor skills, depending on the person. If it is a walking session, it will start with muscle initiation exercises, to ensure the muscles are warmed-up and ready to move, especially if the individual spends the majority of their day in a wheelchair. Reinforcing good technique is vital when delivering a session, ensuring they don’t pick up bad habits – after all it’s much harder to re-learn skills than start a fresh! We spend 30-45 minutes working on skills outlined in the rehabilitation goals of that particular person. After the session, I ask for feedback about how they felt and how they think they did. Some people will say’ oh, not very well’ even when they’ve surpassed their goals, so it’s my job then to increase their confidence and self-belief.

Lunch is a delicious home-cooked meal by our wonderful chef; maybe even a slice of cake for pudding too! I do try to have a break at lunch but as we all know, it’s difficult at times, especially when you’re busy. A typical afternoon consists of around 3-6 sessions, again depending on the length of the session. This can include walking practice with a resident, cooking a meal or baking or perhaps a community outing.

One of the most challenging things about my job is seeing individuals come to terms with their condition and realising how it will affect their life. When a person regains insight into their condition, we know they are making progress – but at the same time their insight can make them acutely aware of their disability and how their life may be so much different to how it was pre-injury. It’s my job to help a person become as independent as possible while also keeping them safe and acting within their best interests – sometimes the person may not agree with me and it takes time and sensitivity to work through this together.

To do this job you need to be confident with your skills and knowledge, be able to use your initiative and have a good sense of humour!

Seeing the residents on a daily basis and the progress they have made is guaranteed to put a smile on my face. Witnessing how the rehabilitation assistants put their all into helping others to have a better life is the reason I work in the industry I do but also being part of the discharge process and helping clients move on from here is very rewarding.”

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