Staff profile: connecting activities with health and well-being

Devin Hornby is an occupational therapist with Health PEI

“Seeing people who are successful with their goals, the change in people, that’s why I do this,” said Devin Hornby. He’s an occupational therapist for Health PEI. “Just as rewarding is working with those who have complex diagnoses and seeing their personalities shine. That can just make my day.”

Devin has been working in occupational therapy for six years. Before that, he was a working musician.

“I was teaching music, playing bass with other artists,” he said. “I was looking for a change.” 

A chance encounter with a neighbour turned him on to the idea of helping others. His neighbour, Liz Townsend, just happens to be internationally known in the occupational therapy field as a researcher, teacher, and writer on the subject.

“Working with people to reach goals for things they do every day sounded cool and interesting,” he said. “I visited Dalhousie University, where the program was offered. I took some prerequisite courses online while still working in the music scene on PEI. Every step felt positive.”

After his two-year master’s program, Devin took part in one non-medical and two medical placements. He also had the opportunity to complete a six-week international placement in the Netherlands. “It was a really wonderful experience to see a different health care system. I found the work they were doing really interesting.” 

Today, Devin splits his time between patients in long-term care and those in structured programming for Mental Health and Addictions. 

“In the long-term care setting, I receive referrals that could be anything from challenges with basic daily activities that clients need assistance with or helping others with more complicated needs and how we can assist them. We do a lot with quality-of-life care and equipment setups.

     – Devin Hornby, occupational therapist 

One of the programs he runs for Mental Health and Addictions is called Action Over Inertia. “It’s basically a group who come from different backgrounds and diagnoses, and I try to make it broadly applicable. I help them see the connection between activities and their health and well-being, which is really the basic theory of occupational therapy.” he said. “It’s a goal-setting group to help people get back to the activities they used to love but haven’t been able to participate in by trying new things or trying to change a pattern in their life.”

Devin derives a lot of satisfaction in helping others as an occupational therapist. 

“You really are just sitting down with the client and having a conversation to find out what is important to them and to help them navigate their uncertainty. I love the diversity. Every day is different.”

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Published date: 
November 20, 2023
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