Research aims to improve rural OT driver assessment services

Sacha Marchant holding her Freda Jacob scholarship certificate with Melissa Bramley standing beside her. Both are smiling and standing in front of an ILC bannerIndependent Living Centre WA Occupational Therapist Sacha Marchant has been awarded the Freda Jacob scholarship for 2018-19.

Freda Jacob AM was the inspiration, founder and driving force behind the development of the Independent Living Centre WA (ILC). The Freda Jacob scholarship, announced by the ILC Board in 2017 in memory of Freda, aims to acknowledge an individual who demonstrates the same determination, compassion and commitment to all people that Freda showed.

The scholarship aims to provide employees with the opportunity to develop in an area that will enable them to further support people with a disability and the frail aged, their carers and families.

The scholarship will enable Sacha to undertake a research project to investigate how occupational therapy driver assessment services can be better delivered to people who live in rural areas.

As a driver trained occupational therapist, Sacha’s role is to perform an assessment on individuals to ensure that they are safe and able to drive, where possible.

Sacha is standing beside a car holding a clip board. A mature man is seated beside at the wheel looking up at her. “I perform OT driving assessments on a wide range of people, including drivers with age related changes and people with disabilities or medical conditions.”

“Unfortunately for people who live in rural areas occupational therapy driver assessment services are not very accessible, mainly due to location and the cost,” said Sacha.

“A practical driving assessment provides the best assessment of a person’s driving ability, and through my research I would like to see how we can work with local health professionals to determine the demand for regular occupational therapy driver assessment clinics in certain rural areas. Where there isn’t sufficient demand to justify a regular clinic, I would like to see how we can work with the local health professionals to identify ‘at risk’ drivers and get them to Perth for assessment.”

“I will also be looking at the capacity and effectiveness of performing OT driver assessments via videoconferencing technology in the future.”

ILC Chief Executive Officer Steve Glew congratulated Sacha on being awarded the scholarship.

“The Independent Living Centre WA is committed to providing employees with ongoing and interactive learning opportunities that will enhance their development.”

“Sacha is a standout candidate for the Freda Jacob scholarship. Throughout her 17 years working with the ILC she has continually demonstrated a commitment to supporting individuals in the best way possible for them.”

“The research Sacha proposes to undertake will not only be a great asset to her future practice as a driver trained occupational therapist, but it will also benefit the ILC, people with a disability and those who are ageing, which is why she is a great candidate for the scholarship,” said Mr Glew.

2 Responses

  1. Dr Bess Fowler Phd OT says:

    This is a fantastic project and a tribute to Freda. OTs and their clients will benefit greatly from this research.
    Bess Fowler

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