Serious road traffic collision in Harlow inspires Jordan to help others as an occupational therapist
Health / Tue 15th Aug 2023 at 01:08pm
A SERIOUS road traffic collision eight years ago led to a life-changing journey for occupational therapist Jordan Cole.
He was just 20 when he was struck by a motorcycle while crossing a road in Harlow in December 2014.
He suffered multiple broken bones and was in a coma at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for about nine days.
Jordan suffered a series of strokes while in hospital and doctors also discovered a hole in his heart, which had not previously been diagnosed.
The former bicycle mechanic said: “It took a very long time to adjust. And then I battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well so I was having to battle with PTSD and learning to walk again. I had to start from zero and work my way from nothing really and it changed my whole viewpoint.
“It really burned my desire to make a difference to people and give something back, to show gratitude for my life being spared, if anything.
“I’ve also grown up with cerebral palsy my whole life and I’ve always wanted to find the strength to help someone else, because it was quite a struggle growing up.”
It took a year and three months for Jordan to get well enough to return to work on crutches.
He then changed career, first becoming a support worker for people with learning disabilities and autism. He later moved into domestic services at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow before going into physiotherapy.
Jordan joined EPUT in 2018 as an occupational therapy assistant, working with people being cared for in our mental health inpatient wards at the Derwent Centre in Harlow.
He is now an occupational therapy technical instructor at the centre, where he runs therapy intervention groups. This involves working with people to achieve their goals and supporting them to return home.
He also helps people regain confidence and supports those who have social anxiety by teaching them coping strategies and skills.
Jordan, 29, said: “One of the things I enjoy most about my job is working closely with patients, building up a therapeutic rapport, and helping them see ‘you aren’t your diagnosis, you are a person.’
“I also enjoy helping them to recognise their self-worth again and their purpose in life. It’s lovely to be able to guide someone and to support them in the recovery process.”
Jordan uses his experience of being a patient to shape how he works with his own patients. This includes his experience of PTSD which left him feeling in a “very, very low space many times”.
He said: “I’m able to always bear in mind that I was the patient, and I remember lying in bed in pieces, waiting to see someone.
“I was holding on all day, just to see an occupational therapist or the physiotherapist, just for a bit of hope to think, right, things are moving. So now I always bear in mind that someone is now waiting for me to be on the ward.
“I remember the people that were there to help me when I was 20. I don’t remember their names, but I always remember what they looked like. And I think I want to be that person, where someone could look back and think ‘this person was here for me during my darkest time.’
“There is always hope, no matter sometimes how hopeless it feels. There’s always an opportunity for change. If you can find the key for unlocking someone’s potential – which is very much what occupational therapy is about – it’s possible.”
Jordan also volunteers for a support group for people who have been in intensive care or have survived a coma, and their families.
“It’s for patients that have pulled through but are struggling with getting back to life and living – this might be dealing with delirium, it might be dealing with increased anxiety, fear.
“I share my story with them and explain how I was in their position, but I’m now out the other side. Hopefully by sharing my story, I’m able to give someone some hope.”
Jordan has shared his story in a video which can be viewed on You Tube: Jordan Cole Final 15.08.2023 – YouTube
A great inspiration Jordan Proud of all you have achieved
Jordan you are truly an inspiration. I remember you as a student from BMS. You have done exceptionally well, so pleased for your recovery & the positivity that shines through. Truly a young man with a compassionate and caring heart. The world needs more people like you. I wish you the very best in all you set your heart & mind to do. God bless you. Penny Moses
Keep paving your pathway for your journey Jordan! You're commitment and effort are recognised.