College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section-Older People (COTSS-OP) is:
"a dedicated Specialist Section of occupational therapy staff that is passionate about older peoples’ independence, well-being and choice
We provide professional and clinical information on all aspects of occupational therapy practice related to older people. We have a responsibility to keep abreast of relevant professional, practice, policy and legislative developments and issues. Our members include occupational therapy staff from both physical and mental health services for older people."
Without the COTSS-OP I don't think my visit to the University of Southern California (USC) would have happened.
I have been a member of COTSS-OP for a long time but was not actively involved other than attending an occasional study day, but that all changed the day I had a spare few minutes in front of my computer at work and noticed that the SS was offering 2 free places at the COT conference in Brighton in a few months. I filled it in and sent it off not expecting to hear any more- and got an email a short time later to say I had won one of the places!
|Pasna & Ebby in Brighton|
Pasna Sallis, the other winner and I both happened to live in Scotland so we travelled down to Brighton together. We were made so welcome by all the National Executive Committee (NEC) members and attended many different presentations, events and seminars. One of the speakers was Dr Florence Clark from USC who developed the Lifestyle Redesign occupational therapy approach.
As a result of our attendance at the conference, Pasna and I both became more actively involved in COTSS-OP, Pasna in the Dementia Clinical Forum and myself in the Acute Care & Emergency Clinical Forum, something we both continue with to date.
During this first year, I came across information about Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) travel awards (more about this when we get to W), and the idea was born. A further opportunity to meet with Dr Clark at conference the following year confirmed my wish to try to explore the Lifestyle Redesign approach further. I nervously submitted my application to WCMT, and at the end of the selection process I was awarded a travel fellowship- and the opportunity to spend 8 weeks in Los Angeles with the researchers, clinicians, students, patients and clients who taught me so much about my profession and about the Lifestyle Redesign approach.
This was a real once in a lifetime experience and a great example of 'luck is opportunity seized' (a great quote but I'm not sure who said it first!)
For any occupational therapist working with older people, membership of the specialist section is well worthwhile. Have a look at the website via the COT website or follow this link.
Membership is very reasonable- and cheaper still for students- and don't forget you can claim professional subscriptions back on your tax.