Although there is no central registry for disability in Gibraltar, the Occupational Therapy department can provide the following figures:
• There are approximately 80-90 people registered as visually Impaired
• There are approximately 80 registered wheelchair users on the OT databases
• There are 94 medically A or A+ cases on the housing waiting lists.
• The OT caseload for paediatric cases stands at 162 cases as either being seen or on the waiting list.
• OT community referrals for 2011 stood at 141 new cases (this figure does not include long-standing patients).
In St Bernard’s Hospital, two full-time Occupational Therapists cover the four main wards and the Critical Care Unit. Each OT has two wards. The Rehabilitation beds are covered by one OT as part of Victoria Ward and John Ward. The patients in the Rehab beds are given priority; due to the nature of the medical conditions it can initially take both OT’s for treatment sessions. This affects treatment times for the Orthopaedic patients and Elderly Rehab on the other wards.
Work is ongoing in further developing the equipment and resources required for this service to meet the needs of palliative care patients.
Changes made in the organisation of building and works had an initial adverse effect on our service. Much time has had to be spent by this team managing these issues.
OT and the Medical Advisory Board for Housing
The department introduced a set of criteria to allow a more objective classification of clients wishing to be re-housed due to medical grounds. This, together with the new assessment forms introduced, allows the committee to use the criteria to decide on the appropriate grading which individuals should have.
The grading is not based purely on the severity of the illness, but rather on a combination of how the accommodation is affecting the client’s health, the ability of the individual to function to their full potential in their environment and the benefits which re-housing would have on the client’s health.
OT and the Blue Badge Scheme (Disabled Drivers and Passengers)
Work was centered on enabling a more objective and modern manner of deciding on the appropriate allocation of blue badges. The new criteria adopted were in accordance with new criteria in the 2007 UK blue badge reforms. The reforms include criteria for automatic allocation, but also recognition of other conditions (or acquired criteria) for which a badge should be considered.