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Graduate Andy reaches for a healthy job

Date 3.11.2020

A graduate who used occupational therapy (OT) to rebuild his life after a near fatal road traffic accident has landed a prime, OT role at a local physical and mental health rehabilitation centre.

Andy Jay sustained extensive injuries following the accident in 2015, including a broken leg, shattered elbow, broken forearm, six broken ribs, fractures to multiple vertebrae and many more internal injuries.

Subsequently, Andy suffered two strokes, spent a week in a coma and a further five months in hospital followed by post-hospital support. This included an occupational therapist who helped Andy in his attempts to return as close as possible to his pre-accident lifestyle and interests.

This opened his eyes to the possibility of an entirely new career option (he was previously a telephone engineer). Now, following the successful completion of his degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Northampton, Andy has landed his first job at The Reach for Health Centre, a Daventry-based charity specialising in physical and mental health rehabilitation.

Andy – pictured with UON OT students – is a big champion of the centre, where he was based for the final 12 weeks of his student placement before graduating. His post as a band 5 occupational therapist is funded by The Reach for Health Centre and the Elizabeth Casson Trust, an organisation that works to support the development of occupational therapy.

As part of his role Andy is supporting a UON team of Occupational Therapy students providing OT interventions and support to the attending service users. Part of Andy’s duties involve him helping the centre deliver innovative online therapies.

In time, the view is to have a permanent OT clinic at The Reach for Health Centre, staffed by UON OT graduates and students with the possibility of OT research.

Reach for Health Centre have opened a new facility – again located in Daventry – for face-to-face consultations this week (Monday 2 November). The new Centre will offer much improved facilities and support for their service users, most of whom are referred by NHS medical professionals.

Andy said: “The Reach for Health Centre will make a huge difference to both the physical and mental health outcomes for its members. By incorporating occupational therapy into the service, we can offer practical support to people with physical and mental illness, disability, long-term conditions or those experiencing the effects of aging. This will enable them to get closer to being able to do the things they need or want to do.

“I was lucky to have received 12 weeks of community rehabilitation following my stroke, as the delivery of ongoing and longer term stroke rehabilitation varies across the UK.

“Without somewhere like The Reach for Health Centre, people are often left with nowhere to go once they are out of the acute phase of their illness or condition. I feel honoured to be working here and to support them as they extend the hugely important health and wellbeing care they provide. It has allowed me to put into practice what I have learned during my degree.”

Rob Juson, chair of Trustees at The Reach for Health Centre added: “It has been a real pleasure having Andy working with and becoming an integral part of our team. Bringing the disciplines of occupational therapy to our services has added a new and refreshing dimension to what we do”.

For more about Andy, see our previous news story.

For more about The Reach for Health Centre.