Back to baking: celebrating the unsung heroes of occupational therapy

A wheelchair user can share her culinary skills more easily with her granddaughter after working with an occupational therapist to adapt her kitchen – and a single mum who wanted to be able to carry her baby around now has a special adapted baby seat for her wheelchair.

This week (7-13 November) we’re celebrating the sometimes unsung heroes of occupational therapy in Portsmouth, who work with people to find creative solutions in their homes to help them live the lives they want to live.

Pam* loves cooking and sharing her baking with her granddaughter but was struggling to reach her kitchen appliances and utensils from her wheelchair.

An occupational therapist (OT) with Portsmouth City Council visited her and, together with a local builder, they made a plan to adapt and refit her kitchen, then arranged a volunteer from GoodGym to move her food and utensils into her new accessible cupboards.

Now Pam can more easily manoeuvre her wheelchair in the kitchen, transfer hot food to the oven safely, make use of her worktop, and reach storage space.

Single Mum, Jo*, wanted to be able to carry her one-year-old around more easily in her wheelchair.
Occupational therapist, Sam, worked with Remap, a charity of volunteers who design bespoke equipment for people with disabilities, to make a baby seat to fit the frame of Jo’s wheelchair.Now Jo can take her baby out and about independently and be the Mum she wants to be.

Ebo was struggling to feel confident in the kitchen again after a brain haemorrhage four years ago.
One of our occupational therapists, Nicky, made plans with Ebo to re-fit her kitchen and make it accessible for her wheelchair. Nicky then spent time with Ebo helping her learn how to plan meals, use her new appliances and manage timings.

Ebo is very happy with her new kitchen and can now make her own breakfast and hot lunch from scratch. She says:

“I didn’t used to like using the kitchen and I was reliant on carers when it came to mealtimes – but now it’s a lot easier to reach everything I need to, including the oven and cupboards.

“Now I’m preparing more meals by myself, including steak! I’m looking forward to making my favourite breakfast, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast, on Christmas morning, because I haven’t been able to do it for a long time. Thank you to Nicky and the OTs for all of their help.”

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing & Social Care, said:

“Thank you to all our occupational therapists for your hard work and dedication. It’s fantastic to see the way you come up with personalised solutions to help people live the lives they want to lead, working alongside them, using your creativity and collaborating with local organisations. You make Portsmouth proud.”

Ebo in her kitchen, which was refitted with the help of Occupational Therapist Nicky.
Ebo in her kitchen, which was refitted with the help of Occupational Therapist Nicky.


*Name changed to protect identity