OTs make a big difference in housing

20 November 2023 10:14AM

Not many people can say that every day they spend at work is a good day. For Occupational Therapist (OT), Rosh, from the Logan Housing Service Centre, that is how he feels pretty much every day.

“I love being an OT with Housing,” Rosh says.

“We’re supporting people with complex needs to live as safely and independently as possible in the community, which means that every day looks different. Logan has a large portfolio of different types of housing, which provides a lot of opportunities to problem solve to facilitate good outcomes for our tenants.  Some home visits are looking at minor home modifications, like grab rails and step ramps, while others can be more complex when exploring major modifications or supporting tenants with complex mental health conditions,” he says.

Public housing tenants, Maureen and Charles (pictured), moved into their new unit in Logan this year. The unit is in a complex for people over 55 mostly living with a disability. Rosh worked with the couple to make their home safe for Charles, who uses a wheelchair.

“The OTs have supported us when we’ve needed it,” says Maureen. “When we moved in, I knew all these things were going to happen for Charles. They made recommendations to replace all the carpet and put down vinyl to make it a lot easier with his wheelchair, and installed grab rails in the shower recess and around the toilet.”

Being an OT in Housing is different to being an OT in a hospital or private practice.

“For OTs working with other external funding providers, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your recommendations will be actioned,” says Rosh.

“With Housing, I’ve found that to be quite different. You’re making recommendations to a delegated officer who sits in the same office as you. You can have a conversation about why you’re making those recommendations, and you can develop a level of trust so they know that if you’re making a recommendation, you’ve thought about the options before we’ve come to that conclusion. I think it speaks to the autonomy and the level of respect we’ve got within the department,” says Rosh.

Most Housing Service Centres across Queensland have an OT who works with social housing tenants in their homes and provides advice on new homes being built.

“We get opportunities to be involved in new constructions around the Logan area, including providing feedback on the types of housing that we require, the accessibility features of them, and the experience our tenants have after moving in,” says Rosh.

OTs in Housing are supported by access to senior OTs and are part of a network of experienced OTs across Queensland.

“I have learnt a lot from the senior OTs and OTs around the state and have always felt very supported by the management team in the Logan HSC. The opportunities to develop my skills as an OT in an environment that encourages autonomy and initiative is something that makes Housing a really great place to work,” says Rosh.

Left to right: Rosh, Maureen and Charles