Devon families see benefits of support from Occupational Therapy Service

Parents and children have given glowing feedback for the children’s Occupational Therapy service in Devon, which Virgin Care has overseen since 2013 on behalf of the local NHS.

Often children and young people who have physical, sensory, developmental, cognitive, and social needs can find these can affect their functional abilities which have an impact on their daily life.

Without help, it can affect their ability to grow, learn, socialise and play and they can sometimes find it difficult to cope with basic activities like getting dressed and brushing their teeth. At school they may have difficulty concentrating in class or may lack the confidence to get involved in playground games.

Virgin Care’s Occupational Therapy Service across Devon – part of Devon Integrated Children’s Services – is helping children to mitigate such problems with more than 85% saying  the help they got has improved outcomes.

Virgin Care took on the Integrated Children’s Services in 2013 with a roadmap to reducing waiting times, introducing new technology to make services more efficient and provide parents with better support, and improving outcomes.

Feedback from an end of year (March 2017) survey also found that just less than three quarters (73%) of people who use the service say they had their views listened to when their occupational therapy goals were set, while more than 87% say they achieved their agreed goals,  with many exceeding them.

In recent months children, young people and their families have seen waiting times from referral to treatment improve, while more than 87% of families say they would be likely to recommend the service.

Part of the improvement to the service over the last year was the introduction of additional toolkits and advice online for parents and schools and the service is encouraging parents who may have concerns about their child’s development to use the Devon Integrated Children’s website for help before contacting them direct.

Once there, parents and carers can access toolkits, advice and guidance as well as referring their child to the service themselves without a need to see a GP.

Elaine McLintock, Virgin Care’s professional lead for children’s occupational therapy in Devon, said: “This can be a really worrying time for parents so we’ve made the tools and advice on the website reassuring as well as offering help and support.

“We often see children in the various environments they normally use – including schools, nurseries and support units.”

The Devon Integrated Children’s Services website can be found at http://devon.integratedchildrensservices.co.uk/.

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