Published: Wednesday, 13 September 2017
NRS Healthcare’s Clinical Services division began with one Occupational Therapist (OT) providing advice over the telephone to customers looking to purchase daily living aids. It is now a division in its own right, with a team of 14 OTs and 8 OT Assistants, 2 Assistive Technology Assessors and a Triage Officer, working at head office and across the country in our service centres to support both the Product Sales and Community Equipment Services divisions, as well as our local authority partners through bespoke projects.
We spoke to Rachel Seabrook who heads up this team, to find out more about what they are working on currently and how they are planning to grow in the future…
"At head office, we operate a telephone, email and online product advice service for professional and trade clients, as well as members of the public. In the last 12 months we’ve spoken to over 5000 customers, helping them choose the correct product to meet their needs. We carry out product training sessions with customer service and sales employees. We get involved in tendering for new contracts, product development, and ensure the product descriptions on iRIS are clinically accurate and relevant."
OTs and OTAs in our service centres undertake activities that form part of our contract with the local authority, so for example:
Recalling products from care homes
Running local Safe+Well services
Training NRS staff and prescribers on equipment
Managing ‘special’ equipment and encouraging use of recycled equipment instead – saving our local authority customers £10,000 per month on average.
We are also carrying out bespoke projects for local authorities. For example, in Buckinghamshire, we are helping them reduce their OT assessment waiting list. Our OTs and OTAs in Aylesbury, led by Linda Ellis, have carried out around 300 OT home assessments. They’ve received excellent feedback from service users and commissioners.
We have recently launched an Assistive Technology Assessment Service in Buckinghamshire, run by new OT Fiona Whitehouse. This sees us visiting people who require devices to live safely at home, assessing them, installing equipment such as panic alarms, location tracking devices, door sensors and so on. We’ve currently received over 460 referrals and had to increase the team rapidly to cope with the demand by recruiting a Triage Officer, Hannah McDowall, who now deals with the referrals as they come in.
A third project for Buckinghamshire is a review of ‘double handed care’ packages. We have assessed around 150 people who currently have two carers visit them at home to find out whether they could have this safely reduced to one carer by using different equipment, or shown better moving and handling techniques. So far, we’ve found around 40% of cases could use one carer instead of two. This reduction in care saves the council money and means better care for the service user, for example with one person focussed on talking to them (not their colleague) and using more comfortable moving and handling techniques.
Finally, a new project in Hull involves training 100 social workers as ‘trusted assessors’, so that they are able to prescribe basic community equipment such as grab rails and toileting equipment. This will enable the person to have their needs met in one visit without having to sit on a lengthy OT waiting list.
o, all in all, we’re really busy! We are constantly looking for new opportunities to grow the division, promote our services and increase our revenue. We hope that offering strong clinical services with proven results will help us to win more contracts, since local authorities are looking for more than just equipment deliveries these days."