Continuing our celebration of OT Week 2020 we showcase the role of Clare Woodall. Clare has worked at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital for over six years and is currently the senior rotational occupational therapist.


Clare Woodall - OT WeekWhat is your current role?
I currently work as a senior rotational occupational therapist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH). Having rotated across almost all of the specialities the children’s hospital has to offer during my six years there, I’ve been in the acute/neurological rehabilitation rotation for 18 months now and love its variety and challenges.

Describe a typical day…
In this role, every hour is different, not just every day! There are three OTs that cover neurosurgery and the acute wards. Prior to COVID-19, the three of us would to meet in morning with our neuro-physiotherapy colleagues to discuss the caseload, any new patients or referrals and joint assessments for that day. MDT working is really important to us, especially in neurorehabilitation.

The caseload can vary enormously. We could be seeing a four-month-old baby on intensive care with a complex cardiac condition who has been long term ventilated, to assess them in their buggy and car seat and develop a programme of development to help their parents. Then we could be seeing a 14-year-old that has been involved in a road traffic collision and has suffered a traumatic brain injury. I support the patients and their families in establishing routine, implementing cognitive and physical rehabilitation programmes tailored to their unique goals, and liaise with the MDT and outside agencies in the community or charitable organisations to facilitate a smooth discharge onwards to continue their next chapter. In-between working on service development projects, and problem solving anything from feeding interventions for my teenage spinal cord injury patient, to negotiating splint wear with a toddler, the role is anything but predictable.

What is the hardest part of your job?
Creatively planning assessments and interventions with limited resources can be tricky. Working with such a wide range of ages and conditions we often have to improvise with the limited stock we do have to make things work for our patients, or rely on family to supply what we advise. Specialist equipment such a switches, switch toys and sensory equipment would be amazing, but they are very costly. They would have a huge positive impact on our patients. The toys we do have in the department can be very old, must be wipeable for infection control, and are shared amongst a large department of both inpatient and outpatient therapists.

What is the best part of your job?
Being inspired and humbled by the wonderful children, young people and their families I meet every day. They don’t know it, but often they give me far more than I can ever give them. Watching a child start their admission incredibly poorly, often on intensive care after illness, injury or surgery, and being a part of their journey of recovery through rehabilitation and adaptation of tasks is very rewarding.

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