KRISTY BLAEN - CASE MANAGER & OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE
(pictured here with Louise Chance)
Where are you based?
My base is Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway and I tend to see clients both north and south of the border.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a proud mum of a little 2 year old trouble maker called Oliver who keeps me on my toes. I love walking and running events in the lakes, including Born Survivor and Lakeland trails. I have helped to raise lots of money for local Headway groups and I support them when I can. I really enjoy family holidays both abroad and in the UK as we have a touring caravan so we can head off at the weekends.
So, what do you do at A Chance for Life?
I work as both a case manager and occupational therapist and the majority of my case load is working with children and young adults which I am particularly passionate about. I’ve worked with the company for over 6 years now and have enjoyed seeing the company grow over this time and have been pleased and proud to be a part of this.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working day?
First job will be to check messages and emails to see if there is anything urgent that needs my attention. If I’m visiting a client further afield I will get an early start and my visits can encompass review of moving and handling needs with support staff and making alterations to equipment as required. I have to support clients and their families to deal with expert appointments as part of the litigation process and this can be for accommodation, therapy, and care experts. Recently I have been heavily involved with a client who is having an extension and so have been liaising with Architect, Solicitor and the Building Contractor. As part of my daily record keeping I have regular communication with other professionals who are also working with my clients.
How did you get started in the industry?
My interest started when I had some work experience through school with an Occupational Therapist and I decided to apply to University to study Occupational Therapy. When I was at University I started working as a brain injury support worker for a young lady on the west coast of Cumbria
What makes A Chance for Life different?
We are a small group of professionals who have a lot of empathy with the people that we work with, a lot of us have personal experiences of brain injury in our family. We support each other on a regular basis and I enjoy being part of a private company where we are able to have the time and resources that our clients need to progress with their rehab.
What makes you want to go to work?
Being able to help your clients and their families when they are in a difficult situation, by helping them get employment, form relationships, increase their independence in daily community life.
What do you think are the biggest challenges your profession faces today?
Working with funders from different backgrounds, I find that some don’t have the experience of working in the rural areas that we cover and don’t understand the difficulties this can pose when trying to provide rehab for our clients with the most complex needs. Also getting people to understand the difference between case management and occupational therapy and the broad scope of the work we undertake.
What is your biggest claim to fame?
I was an avid fan of snow patrol and met the lead singer Gary Lightbody at a concert with my mum. I am also very honoured to be asked to speak a conference for Headway and Dumfries this summer which I am looking forward to.
What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
- Get experience in support work to fully understand the complexities faced by our clients and their families
- Don’t be put off by the academic side as the profession is very practical
- Be yourself and sell your personal skills