Helping people engage in purposeful occupations | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News

Here at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, we employ a wide variety of clinicians and medical professionals to help our patients deal with the myriad of problems cancer and its treatments can cause in the lives of patients and their families. You may not know that this includes our resident Occupational Therapist, Nadine Di Maio.

Nadine has been with us since February 2018. Having been an Occupational Therapist for over 20 years, she brings with her a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for helping people. Nadine obtained a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from the University of Sydney in 1992, and quickly began her extensive career in hospital and community settings. She was attracted to Lifehouse by its vision and values, and the unique opportunity to work in a young and growing hospital.

Nadine’s role at Lifehouse is treating inpatients. She helps them get home quickly and safely by providing practical strategies and equipment recommendations that increase their independence. ‘The role of an occupational therapist is diverse as we do so much, but our main goal is to help people engage in occupations that are purposeful to them.’

‘Our skill set needs to be diverse because there are so many clinical areas that we cover under the umbrella of oncology. We look at how they are managing on the ward with everyday tasks and activities, make sure they are safe in those activities and assess where they are in their disease trajectory.’ If a patient wants to return home after treatment we even do a home visit to prescribe equipment/modifications to enhance their independence. A large part of the role is educating patients and empowering them with the skills they need to live life to the fullest after completing treatment.

The assessments can take up to an hour. She is often involved in multi-disciplinary meetings within other members of the clinical team, and is constantly developing resources, policies and procedures to develop the role of Occupational Therapy within Lifehouse.

While Nadine describes working in the field of oncology as a privilege, she acknowledges that treating people at such a ‘raw and real’ time in their life can be emotionally draining. ‘I’ve got good self-care strategies to deal with all of that. I try to exercise, I immerse myself in my children and I take time out during the day.’

Outside of her work at Lifehouse, Nadine is kept extremely busy by her young family. She has a 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter. She credits her supportive manager and team for promoting a great work environment that allows her to remain focused. ‘I have a really supportive manager and a really supportive team of people that I work with. The fact that I work part-time means that I can establish a work/life balance.’

You can read more about Occupational Therapy at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse here.

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