Check out this edition on news ‌within the industry ‌by OT Australia, the new solutions available and our upcoming event...
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Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) is the peak professional body representing the interests of occupational therapists within Australia.  Comprising over 12,000 members across every state and territory. OTA represents, supports, strengthens and resources the continually evolving occupational therapy profession.
Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA)
The end of 2021 was no different to the start, with OTA busy providing representation for the profession. Over the last quarter of 2021 our policy and advocacy team lodged Eight submissions to governments across areas impacting occupational therapy practice.  The submissions focussed on:

• Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS – Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
• Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS - Inquiry into NDIS Workforce
• Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety – Inquiry into Road Safety
• National Disability Insurance Agency – Request for information on designing an Early Childhood Assistive Technology Approach (OTA was also a signatory to a joint submission from the National Assistive Technology Alliance);
• National Disability Insurance Agency - Home and Living Consultation; 
• Department of Health – Primary Health Reform Steering Group Draft Recommendations Discussion Paper;
• Department of Health - Draft National Mental Health Workforce Strategy; 
Therapeutic Goods Association – Consultation on proposed refinements to the regulation of personalised medical devices

The upcoming Federal Election means that several Western Australian seats are in play. The electorates of Swan, Hasluck and Stirling are all considered marginal, while the seat of Pearce – being vacated by former Attorney-General Christian Porter – is considered to be in play, despite being held by a margin of more than 7 per cent. Labor is confident of picking up at least two of these seats.

What does this mean for occupational therapists? Well, governments and oppositions are never more responsive to the ideas and arguments of associations like OTA than in the lead-up to elections – when their very existence is on the line, and they need the support of our members.

So, between now and May we will be lobbying Ministers, Shadow Ministers and political parties, pointing out ways in which the health, aged care, disability, veterans’ and primary health services can be improved. We will be suggesting solutions to problems and identifying opportunities to be seized.

Other areas where OTA will have to be particularly active this year are aged care and mental health. While we welcomed the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, several of which addressed the need for greater access to meaningful allied health care – for those in aged care facilities and those ageing in place – we are yet to be assured that this will actually happen. Again, we will be lobbying hard to ensure it does.

And later this year, OTA will be launching a comprehensive piece of work around the demonstrably important role occupational therapists play in the delivery of supports for those experiencing mental illness. This will inform and underpin our lobbying in a space that all agree is of immense significance at this time.

The uncertainty for West Australians because of the Omicron variant spreading through the state has resulted in an increase of queries from WA Therapists to the OTA practice team seeking guidance on practical implications of government policies, mandates and directives. OTA Members can access guidance and resources such as videos and checklists to support clinical reasoning during times of uncertainty. Don’t forget to log into your member profile to view these. 

It's pleasing to see some larger scale face to face events slowly returning.  Make sure you mark these dates in your diary.

•    9-10 June – OT Exchange.  Held in Melbourne. Practice domains will focus on the five streams of Aged Care, Disability, Occupational Rehabilitation, Paediatrics and Knowledge Translation.  Registrations open soon.
•    25 August 2022 – OTA Student Careers Forum.  Held virtually. The forum will provide 4th year undergraduate students and final year Masters students with valuable information and resources to help them transition into practice.  Register your interest in attending now.
•    25 November 2022 – OT Mental Health Forum, Vision for the Future.  Held in Sydney. The forum provides the opportunity for occupational therapists working across every area of mental health practice in Australia to come together and exchange ideas, to share practices and challenges, to network and meet new colleagues and to learn from an exciting array of current OT mental health practice and research activity.  Call for Abstracts Now Open.

Take care and stay safe

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA)
As we prepare for our upcoming Ed Sessions on Home Modifications later this month.. we thought it was a good time to reflect on one of the most common solutions used when modifying the home environment – grab rails!
3x Ed. Sessions on all things home modification on 17/03/2022, 9:30 am to 14:00 pm
To get us started.. we asked our community of social media followers why they thought outdoor grab rails were traditionally painted in white – as opposed to leaving the chrome finish! Generally speaking – responders did quite well, with an overall 134 people correctly identifying that the white paint helps to keep the hand rails cool from the suns heat & visible for people living with a visual impairment 👏 But… for the remaining 28 people, just to clarify – stainless steel doesn’t rust! 🙊 So we don’t need to apply a rust preventative coating! 😅
So why are grab rails such a popular fixture when modifying the environment to improve safety?

Increased Mobility - as the rails make it easier to get up from awkward positions and can simply make the person feel more confident when moving around the home. You also don’t need to rely on another person to support mobility, as these activities can be conducted along with the grab rails.
Injury Reduction - Safety is a crucial benefit of having grab rails around the home. They provide protection when  moving around, and reduce the risks of injury by supporting difficult tasks like going to the bathroom or negotiating entrances with steps and multiple doors.
Peace of Mind - Relying on someone for help with small tasks or the risks of being injured in your own home can lead to poor confidence, with people often opting not to take risks inadvertently reducing their activity. But, grab rails can provide freedom and peace of mind during  daily activities and often eliminate the need to rely on another person to complete the task.
Our Bottom Line - You can have grab rails installed at any angle, any location, for almost any task – however it is essential to involve the appropriate health professionals and builders to ensure that your needs are best met in positioning the rails and that Australian standards are maintained.

Join Simon, Tony & Rianne later this month at the Solutions Centre to find out more about home modifications, fixtures and fittings!

This month we took the time to chat a bit more with Brenton Morris and Doug Crockett, the Director and Assistive Technology Manager from @Intelligent Home Technology Centre to ask a few questions and get to know them a little better…

What did Intelligent Home look like when it first started 22 years ago? Brenton: Home technology was a very new concept back in 2000. We were a group of 4 guys with a dream of delivering data cabling and system integration to residential homes. Superfast internet was emerging technology, and there was no National Broadband Network scheme. Over the years, we have grown from a small entertainment-based business to a company of over 100 staff that delivers home network solutions and automation systems to Perth homes. More recently, the role of technology has further evolved to gain significant importance in the areas of aged care and disability. We wouldn't have foreseen our business moving in this direction 22 years ago, but that's the nature of tech, and we find it incredibly exciting and rewarding.
Brenton and Doug
What is the biggest achievement of the team? Brenton: Over the years, we've been proud to maintain our position within Australia's top 2 integration companies. Developing our unique business model and building our team has been a great achievement; this is the foundation for our strong reputation and client relationships today. However, our biggest achievement for the team has been the ability to innovate and provide life-changing solutions for community members. We're proud of our passionate team of programmers, designers, administrators, installers, and technicians who are working to create incredible outcomes for our clients.
How do you/the team start the day? Doug: Our team starts early, so it's usually with coffee! Our office is based in Osborne Park, so there's always a café or food truck within reach.

What is the tech device you/the team must have all the time? Doug: Smartphones are integral to our business. They're not only an essential communications tool, but we use them to document site photos, update project management notes, get directions and control devices. Smartphones keep us connected to our teams and our clients, plus they come in handy when we want to check our security cameras or turn on the aircon to cool the house down on our way home.

What's is the idea of a perfect day at the office? Doug: The office looks slightly different now, with so many of us working remotely. But a perfect day is a busy day, having a few laughs with the team along the way..

And to finish up... the age old question - Samsung 🤖 or Apple 🍏? Doug: I'm definitely Android centric. Brenton: And….I support Apple!. Doug: I’m still trying to educate him🤣

Do you have any questions or a problem you want our team of experts to help you solve? We're here to help you! Just reply or send us an email and our team of experienced therapists, suppliers & engineers will work together to find you a solution!

Janet has reached out to us on our Facebook Page this month to ask: "could the Loop+ be used to map on a commode? We are having ongoing pressure issues using the commode and standard pressure mapping systems have not helped. Currently we are unable to shower properly for over a year now..."  

This is a tricky question... So we reached out to our very own @Derek Wang and the @Loop+ team to help us out!

Although the Loop+ pads are designed for wheelchairs and intended to be on a stable base like a sling or hard base, you certainly could try different sitting positions in the commode, obtaining real-time feedback to ensure you are reducing the pressure build-up and optimising positioning during these activities. As with any comprehensive pressure care mapping - it would be beneficial to begin on a hard base, and then with the support of the Loop+ team progress to real-time feedback in activities and with different seat bases. 

The unique difference of the Loop+ is that it can show you the movement and pressure in real-time as tasks are completed. The Loop+ then develops insights so that you can see where the predominant pressure is being shifted or any compensations due to tissue and muscular imbalances (pressure shifting more towards the right IT throughout the day) and from this data, you may be able to map or find the best chair - extending to commode selection.

Please let us know if you would like to organise a trial at our Solutions Centre with the Loop+. The Solutions Centre is also home to a number of chairs and commodes which can be utilised to build a database of information. We also encourage you to bring your own chair or commode.

Celebrating our Solutions Centre's 1st year
It has definitely been an epic year...
Check out all the activities and achievements of this first year....
Celebrating our Solutions Centre's 1st year
Amber Jones
Tyrex Ramp - These ramps are a great option for those who want something non-permanent to make their home more accessible. Tyrex has a range of customizable recycled rubber ramps to meet most requirements.
Rubber Ramps
Trust Care Let's Go Kitchen Walker Troll  - This walker is great for use inside the house as it features a tray top and basket to easily transport household items with you. It is foldable, height-adjustable and its tray is removable for cleaning and access to the basket underneath, as well as being very stable with four wheels and locking cable breaks.
Kitchen Walker Trolley
Grab Opener
Grab Opener is a metal beer bottle and can pull-tab opener designed for one-handed use. Grab Opener’s hook, fulfilling the jobs of centering the hook automatically, catching the cap when opening a bottle, and attaching it to a metal surface like a refrigerator or tool chest. 
Alexa Home Hub -  The Amazon Alexa is a very versatile aid for those with disabilities and it has a near-endless range of abilities. For example, the Alexa we have set up in our Solutions Centre is programmed to turn lights, air conditioning, and music off and on, as well as open and closing blinds all via verbal commands.
Smart Home Hub
3x Ed. Sessions on all things home modification on 17/03/2022, 9:30 am to 14:00 pm
17/03/2022, 9:30 am to 14:00 pm

We are so excited to welcome back Tony Dunn, the Operations Manager of National Trade Suppliers (NTS) who will be joined by our very own Simon Cochrane and Rianne Lewis to provide these fantastic Ed. Sessions for you.

This is a perfect opportunity to learn or update your knowledge on all things home modifications. You can choose to register and attend all Ed. Sessions or attend individual sessions.

🏠 9:30 am - 11 am - Introduction to Ramps and Rails for Home Access
☕ 30 mins Break - Coffee on us
📝 12 pm - 12:45 pm - Prescribing Minor Fixtures for Home Modifications
🍵 15 mins Break
✅ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Understanding the Process of Complex Home Modifications

This year, we would like to ask you for a small donation of $5 per Ed. Session that you attend. This first half of 2022, we will be donating all proceeds towards the Cancer Council WA.

We will also be providing all attendees with handouts over the morning – so don’t miss out!

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