Holiday healthcare heroes: Occupational therapist’s NHS career was inspired by care of her grandmother

Debs Agar. Photo: NSFT

Debs Agar. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Throughout advent, we're highlighting those who work hard throughout the year - and at Christmas - to keep Norfolk and Waveney's health service ticking over.

Debs Agar. Photo: NSFT

Debs Agar. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

This countdown of those we count on will focus on a different person or individual every day up until Christmas, celebrating our healthcare heroes.

Debs Agar, occupational therapist at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Debs was inspired to pursue a career in the NHS after witnessing the high quality care her grandma received.

She says she 'absolutely loves' her job and the variety it brings, which includes everything from supporting patients to engage in meaningful activities on the ward to preparing them for discharge by assessing their independent living skills, such as cooking, self-care and financial management.

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'I originally wanted to go into teaching but changed my mind after I saw the way an occupational therapist worked with my grandma when she fell ill,' said Debs, who lives just outside Norwich.

'They enabled her to engage in activities of daily living while promoting her independence, and I really liked the way they supported her to do her best.

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'I fell in love with mental health and how complex and rewarding it was while on a placement during my training. I really enjoyed the in-depth care I was able to give and decided that mental health was the area I'd like to specialise in.

'I feel very fortunate and absolutely love my job – it's really rewarding,' she said.

'It involves lots of variety as we aim to look after the whole person and their overall wellbeing.

'This could include preparing people for discharge by finding community resources they want to engage in or looking at supported living or personal assistants who could help them. I may need to order equipment such as grab rails so that the person is able to stay at their own home. I also do a lot of work promoting self-help techniques and encouraging people to develop their own methods to manage their own mental health with the aim of making their day-to-day life easier.'

• To read about other holiday health heroes, click on a door on the advent calendar above.

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