SPONSORED STORY - For this year’s Occupational Therapy Week, running from 21 to 27 October, Perth aged care and disability support provider, Brightwater Care Group, is celebrating the significant impact their Occupational Therapists (OT) have on the lives of clients every day.
One OT, Elysia Connor, is making a huge difference to the lives of clients in the Brightwater Oats Street Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre.
The drive to be an OT began when Elysia was dancing as a child, she attended Occupational Therapy sessions for management and prevention of injuries during that time in her life.
Her OT was kind, gentle, knowledgeable and a creative professional, who enabled her to continue doing what she loved to do most.
Elysia says, “I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I did think that OT was very much like physiotherapy, until I started the degree!
“However, they are very different and it is these differences that made me fall in love with OT. I enjoy a ‘get up and go’ lifestyle, and being around a diverse range of people.
“I fell in love with the idea that I could enter into a job, where science and creativity could come together and allow me to make a difference in others’ lives, no matter who, where, or how. It is a job that keeps me on my toes, and I love it.”
Elysia finished her OT studies in 2015 and started her first job in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia in 2016.
She worked in a rehabilitation role for a time, before the opportunity to work in neurology popped up at the Brightwater Oats Street Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre and she decided to take the leap into her next career goal.
Elysia has worked at the Oats Street site since 2016, helping low and high care clients, and loves developing skills and enabling clients through occupational therapy.
She says the reason she gets out of bed every day to go to work is the people she is fortunate enough to work with.
“Don’t get me wrong, it can be challenging to work out ways of doing, achieving and supporting goals. But my client’s goals are my own goals,” says Elysia.
“Their barriers we work on together to overcome. And the wins - the increased independence, the engagement and enjoyment in everyday life, no matter how big or small… They are completely worth it. They are what get me out of bed every day.”
The biggest highlights of her career include supporting someone to walk for the first time since a significant injury, helping someone complete their morning routine independently, and having a client release a book about their lived experience with an acquired brain injury.
However, Elysia says her work as an OT has so many rewarding prospects she experiences every day with the clients she supports.
She adds, “Completing the HBF Run for a Reason with some extremely motivated people, both ambulant and in wheelchairs, [or] being present with someone who was previously a wheelchair user while they walked across the stage at their University graduation independently, having worked with them for years.
“The list goes on. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to share in these experiences.”
Brightwater is using Occupational Therapy week to spread the word on the invaluable job of Occupational Therapists and the extremely rewarding work that helps individuals achieve their goals and bring a smile to their faces.