Inspirational Story

Helene Payiatis

Who am I? Helene Payiatis

What do I do? Occupational Therapist

What and where did I study: At sixth form I studied Biology, Geography, Sociology and Sports Studies. At University I studied Occupational Therapy

Where do I work? Bradford District Council for Adult Social Services

How did you find out about Occupational Therapy?

For a while I was considering applying for a Physiotherapy course however my grandma had some involvement from Occupational Therapy due to her changing needs. I spoke with my mum and she told me her friend was an Occupational Therapy manager and suggested I speak with her about it.

A few months later I spent a few days shadowing the social service team she managed. I also contacted my local hospital and managed to get two days shadowing experience with them. The days I spent shadowing were really useful as it gave me a good insight into the job and helped me to decided it was a career I wanted to pursue.


What were your expectations before starting the course in Occupational Therapy (OT)?

I thought OT would be a rewarding career, one where my involvement would help to change people’s lives for the better and allow them to live the lives they want to lead.


How about now?

I do help people and I do feel fulfilment and reward from doing this but I won’t lie there is a lot of paper work to get through.


Have you had any lightbulb moments?

It seems silly to say but when I talk to clients in the role I am in now they often thank me and say they didn’t think something like a toilet frame would make so much of a difference to their lives, however implementing that piece of equipment means they no longer need to rely on their partner to get them on and off the toilet, which has giving them their independence back which in turn boosts there self – esteem and has a positive impact on their mental well-being.

Working in social services I work with a wide range of people with a wide range of physical, mental and environmental needs

Where was your first post as an Occupational Therapist?

My first Occupational Therapy role was on a mental health rotation where I worked on a rehabilitation ward working with people experiencing severe mental health conditions to integrate back into society.

I then moved to Assertive Outreach which is a specialist mental health team specialising in working with people who are experiencing psychosis and have a substance addiction. My next rotation was an older adult’s secure ward for people with dementia.


What was the next step in your career?

The next step in my career was a move to Adult Social care as I wanted some physical experience as I did not have a lot of experience from placements at university or any social service experience.

Working in social services I work with a wide range of people with a wide range of physical, mental and environmental needs. In Adult social services, looking at equipment, minor and major adaptations, the aim in each team being to keep people safe at home for longer rather than going into care.

The social service rotation offers a wide range of experience from paediatric team, home assessment team – equipment, major and minor adaptations, clinic team, access, enablement, intermediate care. So much variety and experience.


What does your role look like now?

I work for a District Council for Adult Social Services. I currently work in an enablement team which supports carers to carry out their role safely and effectively, this may be through reviewing and advising on moving and handling techniques, ordering moving and handling equipment, such as hoists, slings, etac raisers, specialist shower chairs and toileting equipment.


Want to know more?

What is an Occupational Therapist? Where do they work? Where can I study?

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