Occupational Therapy

‘Occupational therapy takes a “whole-person approach” to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables people to achieve their full potential’ (RCOT, 2018)


Occupational Therapy helps people of all ages to lead healthy and fulfilling lives by improving their ability to carry out activities (or occupations) that matter to them. Occupational Therapists (OTs) treat individuals, by assessing and working on their functional ability, providing education for patients or carers, modifying ways of doing tasks, supplying equipment, recommending environmental modifications, and organising services required to enable the person to function as independently as possible within their own home and wider community.

Referrals come via the multi-disciplinary team and assessments are carried out on the ward. We endeavour to work with patients to achieve their goals during recovery and help plan the next steps for a safe discharge that maximises the person’s well-being.

Where do Occupational Therapists work in Derriford?
Occupational Therapists work on a variety of wards within the hospital including stroke, neurology, healthcare of the elderly, respiratory, oncology and most general medical wards.

The occupational therapy department provide a 7 day service to cover the orthopaedic wards.

The team also covers emergency care:

This is a 7 day service across the Emergency Department. The OTs work alongside physiotherapy colleagues to provide a comprehensive and timely assessment of the patient’s needs.  This team is known as the Rapid Response Team (RRT).

Patients who attend the Emergency Department due to illness or injury are often worried about returning back home and coping with the immediate effects of their condition. Input from OTs in regard to equipment provision, coping strategies and techniques can enable the patient to regain optimal independence.

The complex decisions around discharge from hospital for patients can often feel daunting, the RRT endeavor to support patients and their families and friends through this process.



Out-Patient Service


The team assess and treat any type of Arthritis, or long term chronic pain conditions (Fibromyalgia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).

As OTs our focus is on teaching the patient self-management techniques in order to optimise their physical and mental wellbeing whilst adjusting to and coming to terms with a long term, chronic illness.

We educate patients about the disease itself, joint protection, energy conservation, and fatigue management. We use a cognitive behavioural approach to address psychological issues, and will signpost on for any more complex issues around that area.

We focus particularly on the hand, and address this through symptom management: commercial and customised splinting, use of oedema gloves, education, hand therapy and upper limb strengthening. We use a compensatory approach through the recommendation of aids and gadgets. We also advise in regard to benefits applications, and can support this as appropriate.

Our approaches and techniques are informed by the National Association of Rheumatology Occupational Therapists (NAROT), so that we are ensuring all of our input is evidence based.

Burns and Plastics

The team assess and treat both acute and long term injuries to the hand and upper limb. This can cover acute injuries such as fractures, tendon injuries, amputations and burns. The majority of our work is post-surgery: we fabricate the splints to aid healing, and we carry out all the hand therapy to facilitate healing and hand function. We also teach scar management, including the management of burns through the fabrication of pressure garments and splinting where appropriate.

Please note that out patient referrals must come from a Derriford consultant, we do not accept GP or self-referrals.


Occupational Therapy Students

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is a teaching hospital, therefore student Occupational Therapists may be involved in your care. Students are always supervised by qualified staff and their involvement will not affect the quality of your treatment in any way. We will always make you aware if you will be seeing a student.


Contact Information

Nicki Martin
Director of Therapy Services

Ian Chow
Occupational Therapy Manager

Reception: 01752 432220

Occupational Therapy Department

Derriford Hospital
Zone E, Level 7


Useful Links

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

Please answer the question below, this helps us to reduce the number of spam emails that we receive so that we can spend more time responding to genuine enquiries and feedback. Thank you.