#OTalk – 26th January 2021 – Anxiety and stress: what words matter to clients?

This weeks chat will be hosted by Sam Pywell, Lecturer in Occupational Therapist at the University of Central Lancashire  ‪@smileyfacehalo  

This year I am coming toward the end of a research project on anxiety and stress, and wanted to open up a debate which hasn’t been done before in our profession.  My research, which included answers from qualified occupational therapists in palliative care, has led me to believe there can be many ways to talk about anxiety and stress (regarding occupation) which have potential to impact clinical practice. Most importantly, we need to reflect on what our clients need and what words are important to them, and why. 

In rebuilding the world beyond the pandemic, with potentially more clients experiencing anxiety and stress and the option for remote consultations, it could be argued listening to the clients meaning and use of emotion words regarding their meaningful activities are even more important.  Even though telehealth has many benefits, several cues are missing within this environment compared to face to face (Srivastava, 2020).  Words, therefore, can hold significant meaning when considering what is said, and not said, within a therapeutic conversation (Archer et al., 2012).  Therefore when listening to a client (or colleagues) talk about anxiety and stress – what words have they stated and what have you assumed? 


  1. How do your clients talk about their anxiety and stress…what are their preferred words (and why?) 
  2. How do we help clients communicate their understanding and relationship of anxiety and stress with occupation (especially in a videocall or phone call) 
  3. What can we do to help clients when speaking about anxiety and stress? 


Archer, D., Aijmer, K., & Wichmann, A. (2012). Pragmatics: An advanced resource book for students. Routledge. 

Srivastava, R. (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/14/there-is-a-poverty-of-body-language-in-telehealth-appointments-but-there-is-tenderness-too  

Thanks also to: The Institute of Social Psychiatry, UCLan, RCOT and OPC/ Major health conditions specialist section, the Elizabeth Casson Trust, The Constance Owens Trust, UCLan, Professor Dawn Archer (MMU), Dr. Hazel Roddam (UCLan), Professor Louise Connell (UCLan) and colleagues. 

#OTalk – 19th January 2021 – Creating an OT Service Twitter

This weeks chat will be hosted by Jade Nixon, and the BCHC Paediatric Occupational Therapy Team @BCHC_Childot

We are a team of Paediatric Occupational Therapists based in Birmingham, as part of the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. We have recently moved to virtual working during the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to set up a service twitter account to promote our new ways of working! Our #OTalk aims to create reflective thinking around the use of a service twitter account, including the benefits and possible barriers.

Twitter is a growing platform that allows for discussion around best practice and improvement of patient-centred care across the NHS and Social Care. As a free resource, twitter can be used to network with professionals across the World to expand learning, CPD or just as an information source. As a team, we decided to create a service twitter to make use of the existing Occupational Therapy networks to promote our service and to enhance our learning.

We would love to hear the opinions of everyone on twitter, to improve our understanding of the impact a service twitter can make, the benefits, the barriers, and how other social media platforms compare.
Thank you!


  1. Do you have a twitter account for your clinical team or follow any other services twitter accounts?
  2. Do you regularly engage with other service accounts on twitter (such as liking, tweeting or retweeting)?
  3. What do you believe are the benefits of using a service twitter account or engaging with one?
  4. Do you think other platforms may be beneficial for services to share on? How do these compare to twitter?

OTalk 12th January 2021 – Sleep and neurological conditions

This week’s chat hosted by Jennifer Crow @JenniferNCrow.

Questions will be posted by RCOT Neuro Practice @RCOT_NP

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing, influencing our mood, behaviour and energy levels and underpinning our ability to engage in meaningful occupations (Tester and Foss, 2018). However, sleep is such an integral part of life that we can often undervalue its importance, until we start to have difficulties sleeping!

Many patients with neurological conditions experience sleep problems which can exacerbate other symptoms and impact on daily life (MS Trust, 2018, PDUK, 2019). As occupational therapists it is therefore important to explore this as part of our assessment and intervention.

The RCOTSS-NP long term conditions forum recently put together a CPD Short Course with RCOT – An introduction to managing sleep for people with neurological conditions. Therefore, we have been thinking about this area of practice and wanted to discuss with you whether this is an area you address with your patients, and if so, ways you are doing this.

Questions to consider:

  1. Do you ask your patients about their sleep?
  2. What is your understanding of the impact of poor sleep on engagement in occupations?
  3. What assessment tools do you use with your patients to help identify factors that may be impacting on sleep?
  4. What interventions do you provide to help improve healthy sleep with your patients?

• Multiple Sclerosis Trust (2018). Sleep. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/life-ms/wellbeing/sleep Accessed on 16.12.19
• Parkinson’s UK (2019) Sleep and Parkinson’s. Available at: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/sleep Accessed on 19.12.19
• Tester NJ, Foss JJ (2018) The Issue Is – Sleep as an occupational need. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 1-4.

Saying Goodbye & Leaving the #OTalk team

Hello, this is a quick post to let you all know that I am leaving the OTALK team. I enjoyed being part of the founding team and contributing to the cultivation of this fabulous community of occupational therapists and watch it become the vibrant and active community it has. I still remember the days when there would just be 2 or 3 of us chatting online and remember the people who said “it’ll never work” and how wonderful it was to see it indeed “work” and work very well. I will always be amazed at the opportunities that signing up to twitter and having a “chat” created for me and others – The brilliant friendships that came from it will last a life time and it has contributed to my clinical practice significantly.

Having said that, over the past few years I have needed to adjust my life and make changes to my commitments. I have had more of a back room role for some time now, however there are other projects I want and need to focus my time on. I live with Chronic Pain and self care is an important part of managing this well and so I have decided to leave the team and pursue other things. I hope to engage more as a participant and continue to be part of the learning. The current team are the most fantastic group of women you can imagine and we will remain great friends.

I will continue tweeting as @GillyGorry, and will be launching a new website and commence blogging again, likely sharing my crafting or health and wellbeing stories.

OTalk belongs to the community and is in good hands with the OTalk team and I know it will continue to flourish.



Work Life Balance

Gillian Gorry

#OTalk Research 5th January 2020

Research Impact Assessment: why, how and who?

This #OTalk will be led by Dr Jenny Preston, Consultant Occupational Therapist @preston_jenny with @NikkiDanielsOT on the @OTalk_ account.

During the @theRCOT 2020 Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture I challenged the occupational therapy profession to consider the role, purpose and current practice in relation to research impact assessment. This #OTalk Research chat aims to continue this conversation in an attempt to more fully understand the current landscape in relation to occupational therapy research while also providing an opportunity to share learning about the variety of methods that are currently being used to translate new knowledge into policy and practice.

Research impact assessment in itself is recognised as a new field of scientific endeavour (Milat et al, 2015) and the occupational therapy profession needs to consider its contribution to this complex and growing field of enquiry (Greenhalgh et al, 2016). During this #OTalk we will discuss the current evidence for research impact assessment and the associated challenges in demonstrating how research investment leads to improvements in policy, practice, resource allocation and ultimately the health and well-being of the community (Milat et al, 2015). We will seek to identify which conceptual frameworks are currently being used to describe and understand the impact of occupational therapy research.

Additionally we will explore why research impact assessment is important to the occupational therapy profession by understanding how we are currently describing, measuring and communicating research impact. Through the discussion we will begin to explore the dimensions of benefit to inform future work on the development of indicators and metrics (Banzi et al, 2011) while seeking to develop a more common understanding of terminology. Evidence of how occupational therapy researchers are engaging with all stakeholders and partners in the assessment of impact will also be considered.

Finally we will seek to share experiences of how occupational therapy researchers are developing and articulating evidence that facilitates a quicker return on investment by supporting the profession to select the most effective and cost effective interventions so that quality and appropriateness can be maximised (Banzi et al, 2011).

In preparation for this #OTalk Research you may wish to consider the following questions which will be discussed on the night:

  1. Do you have any experience of research impact assessment?
  2. How do you build assessment of research impact into your research proposal?
  3. Which models of impact assessment are you currently using?
  4. What are the key dimensions of benefit when describing, measuring and articulating research impact?
  5. Who should determine the impact of research?

Banzi R, Moja L, Pistotti V, Facchini A, Liberati A (2011) Conceptual frameworks and empirical approaches used to assess the impact of health research: an overview of reviews. Health Research Policy and Systems, 9:26, 1-10

Greenhalgh T, Raftery J, Hanney S, Glover M, (2016) Research impact: a narrative review. BMC Medicine 14:78 DOI 10.1186/s12916-016-0620-8

Milat AJ, Bauman AE and Redman S (2015) A narrative review of research impact assessment models and methods. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13:18, 1-7