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Developing specialist skills at Optalis

There is a strong culture of learning within the Optalis Occupational Therapy Team, they are supported and encouraged to keep their knowledge up to date and to develop specialisms within their discipline. We spoke to Somayya Kolia, Senior Occupational Therapist, who is studying a frailty module through the university of West London.

What is your background?

I have worked as an OT for many years in different settings, including community-based work in South Africa and supporting people who are ventilator dependent in a specialist setting in the UAE. I joined Optalis about a year ago, and I’m currently working in the Locality Access Point.

We work in a multidisciplinary team looking at complex cases for a short period and then hand them over to the relevant long-term teams.

Why did you choose this course?

Diane, our Lead OT for Optalis had previously completed this course and recommended it as a valuable tool. The course looks at how to recognise and reduce the impact of frailty on a person. I wanted to learn more about supporting older people in the UK context. I wanted to improve my knowledge about what is available, the legislative framework we operate in and the approaches commonly used.

Why is it important to develop our approach to frailty?

We know that the population and their needs are changing and it is vital that we keep up with this and adapt our approach, to be more preventative and holistic in our response for people.

What does the course involve?

The course runs for three months and includes two assignments, along with six days of lectures. The lectures have been delivered by experts in this field and have been highly informative. It was also interesting working alongside my health colleagues on this course, and I have gained a better insight into their case management approaches.

How has this helped with day-to-day work?

Every person over 65 years, in contact with health and social care, should receive basic screening for frailty. The person can then be provided with some preventative advice and education, such as how to manage their long term conditions better, stay active or manage nutrition; or they may be referred for a more in-depth frailty assessment.

The training has raised my awareness and I’ll be using the tools in my work. When I complete the course, I will share my learning with the team, and we will talk about how we can implement some of the learning.

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Team members smiling and holding certificates

Celebrating our newly qualified Social Workers

Teams from across Optalis Adult Services joined together at Maidenhead Town Hall to catch up with each other and celebrate their newly qualified colleagues.