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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
OxPARC

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Occupational Therapists

Picture of Sunette Letley, Occupational Therapist We are Sunette Letley, Gabby Willis and Anne Marie Van Es.

Arthritis and other conditions can cause more than just pain and stiffness. They can have an impact on every aspect of your life.

Our job is to work with patients to help them lead an active and independent life. We do this by helping them to:

  • Keep their hands active and strong.
  • Adapt to changes in their everyday life.
  • Find solutions to practical problems, such as washing and dressing.

How can we help?

Our patients do lots of different things including:

  • Going to school.
  • Meeting with friends.
  • Competing in sports.
  • Having fun.

We look at what each patient does and help find solutions to things which are difficult. These solutions might involve teaching our patients new skills or adapting their environment.

For example, we can help with:

  • Grip strength, for turning taps and door handles.
  • Writing, by changing the way a pen or pencil is held.
  • Hand pain and finger movement, by providing splints.
  • Back and neck pain, by changing sitting posture.  
  • Energy levels, by teaching how to pace activity.
  • Washing and dressing independently.
  • Setting realistic goals.
  • Relaxation and sleep.
  • Helping school to understand your needs.

More about Occupational Therapy

How does an occupational therapist fit in with the rest of the team?

We are asked to see patients who have pain and stiffness that affects what they do with their hands and arms. We also see patients who are having difficulties at school, or with relaxation and sleep.

What happens at an occupational therapy appointment?

We see patients in clinic, but may arrange a separate follow-up at another date. The first appointment takes 30 to 60 minutes. This gives enough time for lots of questions about what is easy or difficult at home and at school. There's also plenty of time for our patients to ask questions.