Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre recently announced its 2019 Occupational Therapy Staff of the Year Employee of the Year. Shown here from left to right are the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson; 2019 Occupational Therapy Staff of the Year, Cassandra Adderley; Director of the Public Hospitals Authority, Lyronne Burrows and Sandilands’ Senior Occupational Therapist, Sunitha Pati.

Photo: Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre

For the third consecutive year, the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) has provided a professional development course scholarship to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre’s Occupational Therapy Employee of the Year.

Occupational Therapy attendant, Cassandra Adderley was recently named Employee of the Year and according to BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson, the $1,000 scholarship is designed to enable Ms. Adderley to learn a skill which she can pass on to her clients at the hospital.

Additionally, BTVI’s Beauty Trades department gave 20 additional gift certificates to all 20 staff members of the Occupational Therapy department to receive hair and massage services, 10 of whom are occupational therapists.

According to Deputy Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), Lyrone Burrows, the country is serviced by only 10 occupational therapists with just three occupational therapy assistants and numerous support technicians who assist with the operations at various institutions.

Chair of Beauty Trades, Dr. Donnalee Minnis noted that it was a pleasure for her department to give back to the staff for the past few years.

“We know it takes a lot of support and care for the entire staff. By making it possible for them to get time just to rejuvenate and do things for themselves, they are more motivated to do their jobs and some also become exposed and interested in the programs that we offer at BTVI,” said Dr. Minnis.

“The relationship we have with Sandilands is an example that even the not so obvious partnerships can have far reaching implications for the personal and professional lives of their staff members,” she stated.

Ms. Thompson added that what the staff in the occupational therapy department does amounts to caregiving; therefore, they can use some pampering.

“It is often very easy for caregivers to be taken for granted because they are the ones always initiating action. I think it is therefore important to place them on the receiving end of acts of kindness to show them exactly how special they are and how invaluable their services are to the community. By presenting the spa services, we are simply giving back to the people who continuously give so much of themselves,” said Ms. Thompson.

Furthermore, Ms. Thompson noted that the partnership aids in BTVI achieving one of the organization’s strategic aims of community engagement.

“Over the years, we have seen the relationship grow. It began with complimentary services offered to the Geriatric Hospital by our Beauty Trades department and expanded into our involvement with the Occupational Therapy Employee of the Year initiative,” she stated.

Mr. Burrows admitted that although rehabilitation professions are invaluable, they are also “seemingly invisible” not only locally but worldwide.

“Based on information gleaned from the World Health Organization, these numbers are woefully inadequate for our population size. Indeed greater development within rehabilitation, particularly occupational therapy, must take place. I wish to commend the hardworking therapists and other staff members operating in the occupational therapy space here in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. You are truly unsung heroes,” said Mr. Burrows during the recent Occupational Therapy Week opening.

Mr. Burrows noted that the demand for rehabilitative services is driven by the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in The Bahamas and their complications. The demand, he said, is exacerbated by preventable traumatic injuries caused by violence and accidents.