Helen Bessant – Clinical Lead
FOR over 20 years, Helen Bessant has been working at Rowley Regis Hospital, helping patients in the community live comfortably and safely and for many regain their independence after a spell in hospital.
The Clinical Team Lead for Rowley and Tipton and occupational therapist by profession, Helen (54) explained: “After receiving my degree in English and American Literature from Canterbury University, I was initially unsure of what field to pursue my career in. I moved to Bath and worked in a Methodist home for the elderly, and that is where I discovered occupational therapy, and the difference it could make to someone’s life. I decided that is what I wanted to do, so applied to Wolverhampton to study for a diploma in Occupational Therapy. I was sponsored by Sandwell Hospital, and after graduation I came to work at Sandwell Hospital, and quite frankly have never looked back.
“Back then I studied with a friend – Jayne Sheldon – who is also still working for the Trust to this day.
“I started working with inpatients at Sandwell Hospital, then moved as one of the first members of staff to work at Rowley Regis Hospital (which celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer). I work in the community now, as part of a truly integrated service. We work alongside social services, district nurses and organisations such as Age Well, as we don’t just consider the patient’s needs according to what we can provide, but what is needed in entirety – considering the whole person.
“My heroes are my team who work above and beyond their normal duties, for instance responding immediately when a patient living alone with no family, rang late in the afternoon to say a heating contractor had left her with inadequate heating and she was cold – when no other service could be found to assist – two of our staff went out and sorted the situation. This demonstrates exactly what we are about – they were responsive, flexible and ready to meet an urgent need.
“Patient safety is our first concern, and as that particular patient was left in an unsafe condition, with no heating, we got on with our job and sorted it for her.