Winning poster highlights occupation therapy’s role in falls prevention

20 Jan 2015 | Reducing Harm from Falls

Patients attending occupational therapy (OT) rehabilitation at Gisborne Hospital are being greeted by a graphic illustration of the important role OT has to play in falls prevention.

The illustration comes in the form of a poster designed by community occupational therapist Jordana Sweeney for a competition at the inaugural Midland Region Quality Conference.

The conference’s theme was ‘Keep our patients safe’ and competition entrants had to produce a poster promoting a patient safety theme of their choosing.

Jordana opted for OT and falls, and her winning poster has since been professionally printed by Tairawhiti District Health for prominent display on the way to OT rehabilitation.

Her design, built around intersecting circles, is based on the person-environment-occupation model, an established OT tool that emphasises the relationship between these three elements.

Jordana Sweeny presents falls poster

The poster’s main messages are:

  • The PERSON is central to falls intervention
  • We assess the community home work ENVIRONMENT
  • OCCUPATION is key to therapeutic intervention.

Jordana, who spent many hours on the poster, says: ‘I hope it demonstrated occupational therapists’ creative flair, because we are quite a creative bunch, I think.’

Falls are a large part of Jordana’s job, she says.

‘They can have such a big knock-on effect on people’s occupational performance and their ability to continue doing the things that are important to them. And that’s very core to occupational therapy – being able to keep people doing the things that are important to them, independently or with the assistance of others, and trying to keep people where they want to be. Most of the time that’s for people to remain in their own homes.

‘One of the big things we do in the community is we do a home assessment. We look at the home environment and try to work with the client at maintaining their safety and maximising their independence and confidence to continue. Especially when a lot of the people I see are over the age of 70 and they’ve had a fall, they’ve lost confidence, and then they’ll stop doing the things they love. When you stop doing that, you lose those abilities to continue to do the things that are important to you, that become who you are.’

Last updated 20/01/2015