Occupational Therapy Week: Jenny Streather

7th November 2020

Occupational Therapy Week falls from Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th November this year, and throughout the week we are going to introduce you to some of the wonderful OTs at St Barnabas Hospice, and talk about the difference they make for our patients.

Next up, it’s Jenny Streather who is the Allied Health Professional Lead at St Barnabas Hospice and a qualified occupational therapist. She has been with the Hospice for almost five years now.

Jenny said, “I mainly cover the east of the county, however I have been known to make special appearances in the west of the county too and can often be found whizzing around wherever I can help to support the team.

“I have grown up in hospitals and I blame that for my chosen career path! My first memories are being in Walton Hospital Casualty (as it was known in those days) with my mum who worked as a clerical officer there and getting to see my dad who was a Paramedic. So I blame them – they gave me the bug to be in a healthcare environment!

“When I was sixteen I had my first job in medical records in my local hospital. I was walking down one of the corridors and saw the sign for the Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy Department. I knew what Physiotherapy was, however I hadn’t heard of Occupational Therapy. I did some research and following various different work experiences – including dancing and crafting in what was then known as a “Geriatric Day Centre” (which was so much fun!), I knew this was the job for me. I knew being an OT would be interesting, exciting, individualised and a career of endless possibilities. That stands true to this day where I am able to be the most autonomous practitioner I have ever been and support our patients to live their lives for whatever time they have left.

“The people and patients I have met across the years have all inspired me to ensure I live my own life and not take anything for granted. I am so privileged to be let into our patients’ lives and support them as best I can – I am eternally grateful for this, I just wish I could split myself in 4 sometimes!

“I have a person who I have been working with for a number of years. It has been a journey and his family and him have been so inspiring for their strength, support and individuality. They have taught me so much as a person. I have worked closely with one of the Macmillan Nurses in supporting them – something which I really have valued and enjoyed.

“Recently I assessed a person who had been discharged from hospital – “bedbound” with a complex diagnosis which had limited their ability to transfer out of bed when in hospital. Their aim once home was to try to sit out of bed. The first assessment he was able to sit on the edge of the bed – however low blood pressure limited this. However, over the next two weeks, he was able to progress with minimal support from ourselves and had started to drive locally. For someone who was advised they needed to be bedbound, we were able to support and give the confidence to say “let’s try this” and he has achieved so much!

“The OT and Physio Team I work with at St Barnabas are unbelievable! They are truly a special group of therapists and I am so so lucky to have their support every day, doing what they do for our patients who have a limited time on this earth. I enjoy the complexity of the job as an OT and the ability to really unpick – “why is this happening?” with the help of the brilliant nurses, health rehab support workers and doctors we have. Not forgetting the co-ordinators – Karen and Michelle – who keep me in check! I have fantastic support for my nursing colleagues and I am so grateful for that.”

Our occupational therapists all do an amazing job and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Well done everyone, and please keep up the great work! #ChooseOT

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