Having now been running for half a decade, YORTRAIN GOLD has proved itself to be a truly valuable event to occupational therapists across the North of the country.

On Tuesday October 3, over 300 OTs and healthcare professionals gathered at the Pavilions of Harrogate for the annual YORTRAIN GOLD training day. Having been running for five consecutive years, this event is now a must-attend for all OTs in the North. It’s jam-packed with gripping speakers, break-out sessions, and the latest products on the market that can be tried and tested.

This year’s YORTRAIN GOLD began with a rousing speech from Baroness Masham of Ilton, who was left paralysed from the fifth vertebrae down after a horse-riding accident in 1958. She now champions disability rights and reform in the House of Lords, and has established the Spinal Injuries Association. Her praise for OTs and physiotherapists and emphasis on working together set the mindset for the day – there is still more work to be done.

Tristan Hulbert, the organiser of YORTRAIN GOLD, said:

“Baroness Masham summed it up well really; there are always more ways that we can work together to improve healthcare for everyone. That’s exactly why we organise and host YORTRAIN GOLD every year, because it gives us a chance to get together as a team and come up with new solutions that will help to tackle common problems for occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals alike,” Tristan explained. “YORTRAIN GOLD gives us a chance to say thank you to all the people we work with throughout the year. It gives us a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new people, and it’s a great way for northern-based professionals to get hands-on with the latest products without having to travel too far down the country.”

Deborah Harrison’s talk on single-handed care certainly sparked discussion throughout the day. She presented the various arguments for and against single-handed care, and then listed off some truly startling figures. Her research has shown the UK will need one million extra carers in adult social care by 2025, and if we do not change the way we are working, we will fail. She estimates that the money currently spent by the NHS on delayed discharge could fund another 15,000,000 hours of care – a figure almost too large to comprehend. Her argument set the crowd thinking about the benefits of single-handed care and how it can change healthcare for the better.

The next presentation saw a regular YORTRAIN GOLD delegate, OT and seating specialist, Amy Barber, take to the stage to discuss seating assessment processes. She explained the various biomechanical complexities to consider when looking at the client, as well as other external factors like their ability to carry out social interaction with other people. Amy stressed the importance of individualised seating, and always bearing in mind pressure damage when you look at different seating solutions.

A few Yorkshire Care Equipment staff then took to the stage to show the delegates their latest product developments; one of which being the Lento care chair that The OT Magazine featured earlier this year. Being able to suit the needs of up to 80% of the population, the Lento offers a new, customisable care chair that will save time and money for care homes, loan stores, and even private dwellings where the user’s needs may change over time.

After breaking for lunch, the delegates were given the chance to peruse the exhibition hall and try out some of the latest care and mobility products. From the Raizer emergency lifting chair, through to gantry hoist systems and wheelchairs, there was practically everything imaginable on show. Delegates were also invited to take part in three breakout training sessions. They had a wealth of knowledge at their disposal from ramping experts, wheelchair specialists, and moving and handling advisors from the National Back Exchange (NBE). Every care and mobility base was covered with Yorkshire Care’s staff on-hand for any other expertise needed.

Barbara Franks, an Advanced Occupational Therapist at Engage Occupational Therapy, commented:

“After leaving the NHS and starting up my own company, being around other OTs and team members is one thing you miss. So it’s great to be here today and catch with everybody.

“Training days like this are incredibly important because obviously we need to keep ourselves up to date on products and from a CPD point of view. And it gives us a chance to get together with colleagues and friends to discuss cases and get our heads together. It gives us the chance to do what we do best which is problem-solving.”

Delegates then returned to their seats for a couple more presentations. Theresa McNally, Progressive Training Manager at Vida Healthcare, took to the stage for a truly captivating talk on person-centred connections with Dementia patients. She began by reading a short story by Hans Christian Andersen titled ‘The Teapot’. With the moral being that we should take care of one another and see the best in our patients, Theresa went on to explain how she approaches patients who regularly become distressed and reclusive do to Dementia. She concluded her speech with the resounding method to think about things creatively and take new approaches with Dementia patients, therefore enhancing their quality of care.

The final presentation came from Simon Love and Penny Townsend from the NBE. Their discussion of early therapeutic manual handling lived up to expectations, with lots of audience participation and demonstrations. Whether it was balancing on one leg with their eyes shut, or judging their neighbour’s postural tone, the delegates were given the opportunity to try things out for themselves and draw their own conclusions. The day ended with the annual prize draw, with three delighted delegates winning luxury hampers from Harrogate’s own tea room – Betty’s.

“It’s fantastic to offer a free conference to local OTs, and it’s definitely useful for northern-based OTs who can’t always get to the OT Show down in Birmingham,” explained Sonia Campbell-Thompson, an OT at Wharfedale Occupational Therapy Services. “YORTRAIN GOLD is extremely important because all the funding’s been cut and there are such budget restraints, statutory services can’t afford to send their staff on training. Days like this are costing them nothing, and it’s quite a testament that local authorities have let their staff come here for a day’s training – it shows how valuable it is to the industry.”

More information about Yorkshire Care Equipment can be found at www.yorkshirecareequipment.com