What we do

The aim of Occupational Therapy is to help people who are temporarily or permanently limited in their ability to carry out these everyday activities, because of an operation, accident or illness, to be as independent as possible in these daily activities.  This may include specific treatment for the condition and/or providing equipment or teaching and practicing easier ways of doing things.  Occupational Therapists wear green trousers with a white tunic and green trim and occupational therapy support staff wear a green tunic with white trim.  

How to access the service

Unfortunately you cannot self-refer into our services, referrals are accepted from medical and nursing staff or other allied health professionals within the hospital. 

If you are at home and not receiving hospital care but wish to see an occupational therapist please contact your GP for further advice (or see other information on this website about community occupational therapy).

Where to find us

We are based in ‘The Occupational Therapy Department’ on level 1 of the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and in the ‘Rehabilitation Unit’ Level 2 in Burnley General Teaching Hospital (area 7 above the main reception).

Service Lead

Louise Davies - Occupational Therapy Service Manager 01254 733049

General enquiries

General Enquiries: 01254 734119

Email: Occupational.Therapy@elht.nhs.uk

Occupational Therapy Service

Royal Blackburn Hospital                                                                      

Haslingden Rd


BB2 3HH                                                                                              

Opening times

We work Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am to 5pm.  We also run a limited weekend service for patients who are priority cases.

Occupational Therapy Equipment Enquiries

We may provide patients who are referred to us with equipment to aid independence.  Most patients will be issued with a prescription for their equipment.  We will provide patients with an information leaflet explaining how the equipment can be redeemed.  In these cases the equipment becomes the property of the individual and we are sorry, but they cannot be returned to us or the loan store. 

In a small number of cases we may loan patients equipment on short term loan from the community equipment service – these are usually larger pieces of equipment and we are only able to issue the equipment for certain types of cases such as hip replacements.  These items can be returned to the loan store and will have a sticker on the indicating that they belong to the community equipment service.

If you have any queries about equipment please do not hesitate to call us on (01254) 734119.


If you have an NHS wheelchair and need to either return it, require a repair or have another query please contact the Specialist Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre (SMRC) Watling St, Fulwood, Preston.  Their telephone number is (01772) 716921.  

A career in OT  

If you would like to know more about OT as a career then please log on to the College of Occupational Therapists’ web site www.cot.co.uk

If you are interested in joining our team of therapists then please look at the Trust page for Job Vacancies.

Our teams

OT Emergency

Team Leader: Phil Owen - 01254 734495

This team covers the emergency department, the medical assessment unit and the urgent care centre at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. 

The key role of the OT in the emergency team is to assess the patient for safe return / discharge to their home environment and to avoid any unnecessary admissions to hospital.  The service considers issues such as how the individual was coping prior to coming to hospital and how they will manage if discharged home.  We try to help problem solve any issues that arise following our initial assessment. We have close links with community services.

Web links: 

Age UK:            www.ageuk.org

Acute Hospital Services

Acute Hospital Services for In-Patients at Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals

Team Leaders: Diane Jones (Acute Medical) 01254 733770 and Michelle Ely (Orthopaedics and Surgery) 01254 732150.

The Occupational Therapy (OT) in-patient teams cover the following areas of work:

  • Orthopaedics, Vascular and General Surgery (Blackburn Royal Hospital and Burnley General Hospital) 
  • Acute Medical wards (Blackburn Royal Hospital)

The service works in partnership with the service user (patient, carer), the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), Community Occupational Therapists, Social Services, voluntary organisations & other community agencies.

Occupational therapists (OTs) are concerned with the everyday activities that fill our daily lives e.g. walking, climbing the stairs, ability to get off a bed, chair or toilet, washing, dressing, feeding, making meals etc.  Occupational therapists will look at how these activities may have been affected by the person’s current medical condition whether this is a physical problem or it relates to a problem with memory or concentration. 

  • Referrals for Occupational Therapy are received from consultants, medical and nursing staff on the wards.  We aim to see in-patients within one working day of receiving the referral. 
  • Wherever possible patients are actively involved in deciding on their treatment goals and a personalised Occupational Therapy programme is then planned following the assessment/s.  This programme is regularly reviewed to make sure that the joint goals identified are being achieved.

The treatment programme will vary depending on the patient’s reason for being in hospital. 

  • A key role of the OT is to give education and advice to the patient, their carers and other professionals relating to their condition, treatment programme and any equipment etc which has been recommended. 
  • Home visits – in some cases before being discharged from hospital the OT may decide to carry out a home visit to see how the person is able to manage in their own home or see if the home or any furniture etc. needs to be adapted in any way to help the person live as independently as possible.  This might include providing blocks to raise chairs or bed or providing a frame around the toilet to help with getting up and down.
  • Property visits – on some occasions we may visit a patient’s home (with their approval) without taking them with us, prior to them being discharged home and would meet up with a relative or carer at the property for example if the person was a new wheelchair user.  This type of visit may help when planning a hospital discharge.
  • Some patients will know when they are coming into hospital as it is planned surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement.  In these circumstances an occupational therapist will contact patients over the phone before they are admitted to hospital to educate them about how to cope after their operation and to discuss if they will need any equipment to help them.  In some cases they may visit the patient at home prior to them coming into hospital.

Acute Stroke Team

Team Leader: Christine Parkinson (01254) 732153

A stroke is a condition in which the flow of blood in the brain is interrupted by a blood clot or bleed (haemorrhage). This prevents oxygen and nutrients reaching part of the brain, which damages the brain tissue.

Individuals who have had a stroke experience a range of symptoms including physical disabilities, problems with memory, concentration, planning and perception.

These make it difficult for them to complete everyday tasks and activities, such as washing, dressing, cooking, walking, driving, working and taking part in hobbies.

Occupational therapists help patients to overcome these practical difficulties and aim to improve independence and quality of life. 

During occupational therapy interventions patients may practice tasks, develop skills, relearn new ways of doing things and become more confident performing their daily activities.

The occupational therapist may recommend specialist equipment, adaptations to home environments and other support services that make completing tasks easier and maximise an individual’s independence and safety when they return home.

The occupational therapists carry out assessments initially with patients whilst on the acute stroke unit or acute medical ward (at Royal Blackburn Hospital), some patients return home from here however other patients transfer to Pendle Community Hospital where occupational therapy continues.

Web links:

The Stroke Association:             www.stroke.org.uk

Different Strokes:                      www.differentstrokes.co.uk

Hand Therapy Service

Clinical Lead: Judith Wood (01254) 734119

The Hand Therapy Team receives referrals from consultants for individuals who have suffered an injury or who have had surgery to their hand.  They treat conditions such as tendon repairs, hand and wrist fractures, soft tissue sprains and dupuytrens disease to name a few. We have clinics on the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospital sites.

Hand Therapy is the application of specialised knowledge and skills in the assessment and treatment of the upper limb. The goal of therapy is to prevent deterioration and restore maximum function to the hand.  Hand Therapy is for patients who have been affected by trauma, disease, repetitive motion disorders and progressive conditions affecting the joints, tendons and nerves.

Hand therapists are Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists who, through advanced study, specialise in rehabilitating patients with conditions affecting the hand and upper limb. 

A hand therapy assessment may include reviewing the wound and scar condition, swelling (oedema), range of movement, strength, hand function, sensibility (how your skin perceives or recognises touch and  temperature) and pain.

We also consider the psychological, emotional, employment and social implications of every injury.  Where possible, treatment will always be tailored to the individual’s unique set of circumstances.

Hand therapy treatment may include wound management, scar management, oedema control, pain control, sensory re-education, exercises to increase range of movement and strengthening of the hand. In our treatment we use computerised activities, patient education, training and equipment for activities of daily living and make bespoke/custom-made splints.

When our hand therapist’s use splinting as a treatment method, they have knowledge of pathology, physiology, anatomy, kinesiology and biomechanics to underpin every splint design.  Splints are used for the purposes of immobilisation to protect the hand following surgery, support and rest, correct positioning, mobilising joints, control and correction of deforming forces and compensation for absent or weak muscle power e.g. as a result of nerve damage.

The team also make functional fracture braces. These thermoplastic braces are moulded to support the bone fracture (e.g. fractured humerus - arm) whilst allowing movement at the adjacent joints. 

Web links:

British Association of Hand Therapists:



Rheumatology Team

Team Leader: Susan Ellis (01254) 732149

The rheumatology team receives referrals from consultants and they assess how your illness affects your everyday life, at home, work or school.  Our overall aim is to maintain and improve your independence. We run clinics on Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospital Sites.

We can help in the following ways:

1) Joint protection/Energy Conservation – giving advice on how to protect and use your joints, conserve energy and manage fatigue.  The aim of this is to help avoid future problems, looking at alternative methods to make daily tasks easier – from lifting pans to using the computer.

2) Splinting – we may make or provide splints or lycra gloves for a variety of reasons:

  • To reduce pain and rest joints
  • To protect joints when using them
  • To improve function
  • To prevent deterioration of joints
  • To correct deformity of joints if this occurs

3) We advise on or recommend equipment to make a task easier – for example if you have difficulty getting in and out of the bath, lifting a kettle, reaching your feet to wash or dress, or perhaps turning a key in a door.

Web Links

Arthritis Research UK:                            www.arthritisresearchuk.org

National Rheumatology Arthritis Society:  www.nras.org.uk

Arthritis Care:                                       www.arthritiscare.org.uk