October 27, 2021

Occupational Therapy Day: Participation, Inclusion and Independence

Today is World Occupational Therapy Day. It is an opportunity to celebrate our Occupational Therapists (OT), and to educate the broader community on the value OTs provide.

During 2021, Northern Health’s Occupational Therapy service expanded, with new roles in acute inpatients with the hospital expansion and also in the community and NDIS spaces.

Northern Health employs over 80 Occupational Therapists who work across the service in various clinical and non-clinical settings including acute wards, rehab and GEM, Paediatrics, Community and Ambulatory Care and Hand Therapy. In addition, OTs work in other non-clinical areas including Education and OH&S.

Our Occupational Therapists work with patients to build independence within daily activities as well as promoting participation within their enjoyed and meaningful tasks. This ranges from assisting our acute or rehab patients in getting home safely and independently from their hospital admission, to recommending and prescribing specialised equipment such as wheelchairs to allow our clients to access the community and participate in meaningful tasks which are specific to them.

Northern Hospital Epping, Acute OT Team

Their good work has not gone unnoticed. Here is some of the feedback our OTs have received in recent times:

“Wanted to reach out and say thank you for everything you did for mum & dad. You truly helped him so much for us to keep him home as long as we did. Thank you once again.” 

“I just wanted to let you know that my grandfather passed away almost three weeks ago now. I know that you haven’t dealt with Nonno for a little while now but I still just wanted to extend another thank you for everything you did for him.” 

“I believe in giving credit where credit is due and you should be very proud of the work that you do. He was very fond of you and the way you would chat with him. Thank you again for everything.”

This year’s theme of Participation, Inclusion and Independence celebrates the role OTs play in supporting people of all abilities to engage in activities they find meaningful.

We asked some of our OT’s to tell us about why they enjoy working at Northern Health, promoting Participation, Inclusion and Independence with our patients:

“Working at Northern Health as an Occupational Therapist is both exciting and rewarding, because I am able to work with a variety of patients from many cultures and all walks of life. Being able to practice alongside so many other dedicated, talented and passionate clinicians who work with Northern Health is something I value. We inspire each other to be the best practitioners we can be! I feel supported and valued as a therapist within Northern Health and am proud to work with Northern Health Occupational Therapy to contribute to a healthier and happier growing community in Melbourne’s North.”  Maria Govett, Grade 1 Occupational Therapist (Acute Wards)

“I love working as an OT at Northern Health because I have the opportunity to work with a variety of clients from different cultural backgrounds that share a common goal of improving their independence in everyday life. I also love working at Northern Health as I feel well supported by everyone in the OT team.” Jessica De Vincentis, Grade 2 Occupational Therapist (CHSP/NDIS)

“I love being an OT at Northern Health because I feel like I’m working with a family more than a team to help people in ways that only an OT can.”  Reanna Liberatore, Grade 2 Occupational Therapist (GEM) 

“I am so lucky to work with such a kind and capable team who genuinely care for their patients and for one another. It’s been 14 years and I can honestly say it has been an absolute pleasure to work within Northern Health OT because of our team.” Patsy Giannikos, Associate Director Occupational Therapy.

The OT leadership team comprises Patsy Giannikos (Associate Director, Allied Health, Occupational Therapy and Hand Therapy), Ange McLoughlan (Occupational Therapy Clinical Leader, Continuing Care, Northern Health Bundoora), Jess Trist (Occupational Therapy Clinical Leader, OT Workforce, Student Education, Broadmeadows Hospital) and Simone Cariss (Occupational Therapy Clinical Leader, Acute and Community).