‘Workbridge gives me skills that I am interested in for the future” ~ Patient

Giving Deaf patients the opportunity to experience work in a supported environment

By Dom Carlisle, Senior Forensic Occupational Therapist

& Chris Naylor, OT Technical Instructor

MSU Fairbairn Unit Deaf Services, St Andrew's Healthcare


What is it about Workbridge that offers occupational therapists a service that gives deaf medium secure patients the ability to connect with the community and realise their potential?

Workbridge has been a huge part of the recovery vocational pathway within occupational therapy at St Andrew’s Healthcare. Patients come to realise that through the right support and care they can experience a sense of belonging, connection, value, learn new skills and be part of a social togetherness.

Workbridge is able to adapt to patients’ needs by giving small-bespoke goals that are achievable - inspiring patients who have experienced challenges in their life or who have not had the opportunity to explore or express themselves. Workbridge collaborates and shares with occupational therapists - giving patients opportunities to reach their potential and a stepping-stone to recovery.

Occupational therapists facilitate, role-model, explore and by using many differing skills, ignite a patient’s interest through occupation. It could be a change of environment, being part of a social group discussing interests or participating in an occupation. Occupational therapists have choices and abilities to pull resources into the pathway of the patient, experiencing more choice and ownership in their recovery. 

The occupational therapist can journey with patients on the recovery pathway be it at the start middle or end, no matter what the illness, presentation or risk.  It is this collaboration with patient, OTs and Workbridge where we can adjust, adapt and give just the right opportunity and challenge.  The benefits we see are improved mental health, physical ability and a sense of being part of the community connected and valued.

Patients have a multitude of opportunities that they can experience. This progression is seen when patients negotiate more time in their vocational placement or become interested in the many of the differing departments within Workbridge. Often the motivation, caring approach and support within Workbridge departments enhances independence which we then see in many different areas of a patient’s daily life.

Patients can present with limited interests, a fear of failure, inability to express themselves and are often on the fringes of the group.  Occupational therapists with Workbridge can find an opportunity working alongside the patient.  Slowly through exploring, collaborating, the patient gathers the skills and the emotional connection with ‘I can do’  (Self-believe), ‘I am able to’(trust for others)’, ‘I like being part of this’ (social connection, belonging, value).

For Fairbairn deaf services, Workbridge gives huge opportunities for our patients and is a valued resource on the journey to recovery.