Rebecca is in her 30’s and has arthritis in her hands and wrists. She lives in her own home in the community and needs some adaptations to her home in order to retain her independence.

Rebecca contacted POhWER as she needed support at an occupational therapy assessment. At a previous assessment she had a negative experience and she was concerned that the Occupational Therapist (OT) would not acknowledge her needs. She therefore felt she needed advocacy support to make herself understood and be taken seriously.

Karim, a POhWER advocate, listened to Rebecca, explained his role and remit, and clarified what level of support Rebecca needed. Rebecca explained to Karim that although she is able to articulate her needs, she had previously found the OT to be dismissive and this resulted in the wrong equipment being installed in her home.

Karim agreed to support Rebecca at her next assessment to help her to get her point across.

On the day of the assessment, Karim supported and empowered Rebecca to explain how her arthritis affected her ability to turn taps, operate the shower, and so forth. When the OT tried to point out that the existing shower was designed for those with disabilities, the advocate supported Rebecca to explain that the previous OT who had ordered it had not taken into account that Rebecca cannot hold the shower head or turn the on/off knob due to her arthritis. The shower that had been fitted for her did not meet her needs as it is designed for those who need to sit down in the shower. This OT began to understand, and the assessment was able to continue with them grasping what Rebecca needs and demonstrating empathy.

Rebecca was invited to choose and approve all future equipment before it is installed, which never happened before. Rebecca was thankful for her advocate’s support, as without it, the assessor may not have listened to her needs.