Louise Davies - Senior Housing Occupational Therapist at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
I love my job because I get to make a difference to people’s lives. I help people get the best housing for their needs; it’s like matchmaking, finding or adapting the right house, and helping that person or family to live as independently as possible.
I’m Louise. I’m an Occupational Therapist working within the housing team, and I enable people to overcome challenges completing everyday tasks or activities – what we call ‘occupations.’
I assess the health and disability needs of those in council housing, and those on the ‘waiting list,’ before providing equipment and adaptations to improve safety and independence in their homes. Our support offer can include walk in showers, stair lifts, through floor lifts (for people with dementia or wheelchair users), ramps, bed rails, commodes, and walking aids to help with day-to-day living.
My job is really rewarding when we are able to match an individual or family to an existing adapted home or a more suitable property. I was recently involved in securing a better home for a disabled lady and her son, who were a high priority to be rehoused. She’s in a wheelchair, in poor physical health and her teenage son is autistic.
Following an assessment of her needs, I supported her to move to a council-owned bungalow which we adapted to support her, providing wheelchair access to an open plan kitchen, and living room, and a new wet room for showering. She was able to cook meals for herself and her son for the first time in years and it’s a joy to see the difference it has made to her overall health, wellbeing and dignity.
We have funded these changes because we know there is huge demand for this sort of accessible housing stock within our local authority. This type of housing ensures that we keep people living independently and out of hospital and care homes for as long as possible.
I also work to support hospital discharges and prevent homelessness. I recently supported a move for the family of a little boy with a life limiting condition. He had been hospitalised for 8 months as it was not safe for him to return to his previous family home. Seeing the family re-united and settled after so long was truly heart-warming.
I was really proud when I got a first-class honours degree in occupational therapy to get into this meaningful role. I’m well supported in my work and get training on topics such as preventing suicide and moving and handling people safely. It’s a complex and demanding role, but so rewarding.
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