Red Cross War Memorial Hospital helps build childrens' resilience during Occupational Therapy Week
THE Occupational Therapy team at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) is helping to build resilience during uncertain times by empowering parents and caregivers of young patients.
Occupational Therapy (OT) week, which ends on Friday, highlights the role this discipline plays in the treatment and recovery from many medical conditions, including neurological conditions and trauma such as burns, vehicle accidents and gunshot injuries.
The theme for OT week is “Reimagine Doing” which encourages the need for the public to rethink the way they engage in daily activities, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Occupational therapists promote meaningful activities to improve a child’s performance in their daily routines such as dressing, self-care and school participation. They are able to identify and address underlying difficulties that may affect a child to “do” these activities. They act as the gateway for caregivers to be actively involved in giving access to their children to these activities of meaning, in essence the “doing”.
“It’s a child’s job to play. Children learn through play and it also contributes to their physical, intellectual and emotional development. It teaches them resilience and gives them confidence,” said RCWMCH OT head, Mereille Pursad.
The hospital recently developed a four point “Thoughts for change” concept which allowed for the reassurance and enlightenment of caregivers facing the towering challenge of caring for children during a global pandemic.
Thought 1 focuses on quality time, thought 2 on keeping positive, thought 3 relates to structure, and thought 4 encourages people to keep calm and manage stress. “We strive to look at each of our patients and their caregivers holistically and strive towards maximising their quality of life. We acknowledge that it is a stressful time, however, you cannot pour from an empty cup,” said RCWMCH OT Dani Ferraris.
Breathing exercises, hobbies, meditation/prayer or physical exercise have been proven to reduce stress. Communication, together with a strong support system, have also become important during the pandemic, the hospital said.