#OTalk Research 4th October 2016 – Developing evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence.

The very first of our #OTalk Research Topics will be hosted by Edward Duncan @easduncan we look forward to this inaugural #OTalk Research chat and hope you can all join us.


Developing evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence.


Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now.  You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.

Indira Gandhi

Developing and implementing good quality evidence is essential for the delivery of safe, effective, efficient and patient-centred occupational therapy practice. Yet, if we are honest, practicing in an evidence-based manner, and developing the evidence-base for practice, can be highly challenging.

Evidence can seem elusive. Research may be lacking in your area of practice. Organisational priorities and culture may promote the continuation of things the way they have always been done. Sometimes we can get caught up in the search for “gold standard” evidence for our work: that is research of an intervention’s effectiveness that has been supported by randomised controlled trials or even better meta-analyses of several high quality studies. When we don’t find it, perhaps we assume that there is no evidence to support our practice and little we can do to generate it. And time, knowledge, and confidence can all seem like valid barriers that stop us from developing our own practice-based evidence. This chat starts from a different position.

Developments in health and social care demand that services benefit the people who receive them. There has never been a more pressing need, or more appropriate time, to undertake evidence-based practice and to develop practice-based evidence. It’s time, therefore, to take a fresh and optimistic look at what we can each do to implement and develop research in practice.

Some questions for our first research chat:

1. What opportunities do you see to implement research in your practice?

2. Evidence-based practice is the integration of evidence, clinical judgement and patient preferences – How do you manage/balance this?

3. What skills/knowledge do you need to develop to increase your ability to conduct evidence-based practice?

4. Is there anything in your work place that you can capitalise on to help you develop/deliver evidence based practice?

5. How can we build on service innovations to develop high quality evidence for practice?

#OTalk 27th September 2016 – Welcome to OT: The Student Journey!

This week’s #OTalk is being hosted by Kirstie (@KLO2_Kay), who is the current #OTalk student digital leader intern.


Topic: Welcome to OT: The student journey!


This month, countless universities across the country welcome another batch of enthusiastic and passionate Occupational Therapy students.  These batches come in all shapes and sizes and are filled with students from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences, but what do they all have in common and will always have in common? People and occupation!

Every OT out there has been through what these students are about to embark on in one form or another, so what better way to welcome the new intake than with a reflective #OTalk! This is a great opportunity for the OT community to pass on their wisdom and offer up the chance for any students to ask questions about the journey they are about to take.

For any new students out there feel free to jump in ask any questions as the hour goes on, be sure to let everyone know who you are and where you’re studying.


Some questions to consider:


1: Why did you choose OT?

2: What are you most looking forward to about your OT training/What did you most look forward to?

3: Quick fire round! If you could ask another OT anything what would it be?

4: What was your greatest moment/experience during training, were there any light bulb moments?

5: If you could pass on one bit of wisdom to the next generation what would it be.


Last September the lovely Kelly (@otonthetracks) made the video “Welcome to OT’ where OTs and OT students shared some experiences of using Twitter and participating in #OTalk so if you’re a new student be sure to check it out!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptFThxT1p4Q

If you are new to Tweetchats and #OTalk, our handy guide of hints and tips to get you started is another useful read. https://otalk.co.uk/resources-coming-soon/tweetchatting-guide-for-participants.

There will also be some of the #OTalk team around to support you, so if this is your first #OTalk or you have any questions or queries about joining in just shout and we will help if we can.


Hope to tweet with you all soon!




To join in the chat on Tuesday between 8pm-9pm (UK time), use the twitter hashtag #OTalk in your tweets.

Tuesday 20th September – Celebrating OT with the OTshow and Jen Gash

There is so much great OT practice in the UK. This ranges from OT in statutory services, to OTs working in the 3rd sector, to independent OTs, to OTs breaking new ground in diverse areas and of course, support workers who keep it all running!   This OT twitter talk is for you – the grass roots practitioners whose great work may go undetected. Not all OTs are able to publish articles or research or present papers at conference or win large research grants, but that doesn’t mean their work should go unrecognised or disseminated.

Last year saw the inaugural OT Show Awards, launched at the show in November. The awards were a great success and this year we have added another category!  We want to you to nominate OT  people, services and innovations who you feel deserve some recognition. This year’s categories are

  • Outstanding Senior OT
  • Outstanding OT
  • Outstanding OTTI/OTA
  • Outstanding Innovation (product, service or tool)
  • Outstanding Innovator (person)

This OTalk on twitter will hopefully get your thoughts flowing about what makes great OT practice, what great things are going on inside our profession and how best we can share and celebrate our successes.  The questions for discussion tonight are:

1)            What do you feel is the best way to celebrate and share good OT practice in the UK? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

2)            What stops people sharing their ideas and different ways they practice? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

3)            If you needed an OT yourself, what would you like to see them do? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

4)            What makes OT practice, outstanding? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

5)            Do you know an OT/OTA, a service or innovation that deserves a big pat on the back? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

Post Chat Updates:

Online Transcript:

The Numbers

2,531,038 Impressions
822 Tweets
68 Participants

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 13/9/16 – Media Club: The high price of criminalizing mental illness: Wendy Lindley at TEDxOrangeCoast

This #OTalk will be hosted by @BillWongOT

Mental health is an area we have core knowledge at as OT practitioners. We at least sometimes work with patients with mental health diagnoses across the lifespan- from kids to criminals. And for those of you who work in forensics/mental health settings, I am pretty sure this TEDx Talk will hit pretty close to home to you. Although I don’t claim to be a mental health expert, I think it is an awesome TEDx talk to do a media club on because we might see criminals with mental illness across different stages of life. From pediatrics point of view, it can be prevention in form of education of making appropriate life choices. From forensics mental health point of view, it can be relapse prevention of preventing them to commit crimes again. From geriatrics point of view (my current setting), it can be rehabilitation to maximize their quality of life.

When I heard this TEDx talk for the first time, the first thing I remembered was the few ex- sex offenders I worked with during my mental health placements in a sub-acute mental health unit. For these patients, even if they are discharged from the facility, they most likely will return to jail serving the remainder of their sentences. When I thought about that outcome, part of me felt that these people should serve their time (just like kids in school serving their detentions in school), but part of me felt that the ones with good potential to return to the community should be given the opportunity to transition to a lower level of care in terms of living situation goes (board and care, or supported housing, for example) like other discharged patients but with no criminal history. That said, like the old adage in OT- “no two cases are alike”. What is best for these criminals with mental illnesses in the justice system is really dependent on things such as the individual’s mental well-being, safety risk to self and others in community, and potential for recovery.

The link for the TEDx Talk is here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WxvUFzrMDc

Here are my discussion questions for the chat:

  1. Do you have any experiences working with ex-criminals in any setting? If so, please describe your experiences.
  2. If you have experiences working in mental health settings, what are some types of groups/individual sessions you run?
  3. What is your opinion of how criminals with mental illnesses should be treated in the justice system?
  4. Your comments or feedback on this TEDx Talk?

This chat has the potential to be a bit controversial and with the potential for differences of opinion. As always please remember codes of conduct in respect to confidentiality and professional behaviour and treat each other with respect – thanks – Kirsty.



The Numbers


#OTalk Participants

Online Transcript

Becoming a Locum/Agency Occupational Therapist – #OTalk 6/9/16

This #OTalk sees Chris Smith – @Alliedhealthwfs – from Allied Health Workforce Solutions on hand to talk about the benefits and challenges of becoming a locum, especially if you are fairly newly qualified.

Here are some discussion points to help guide the chat.

  • Why people have/would consider becoming a locum?
  • How to present your CV
  • Benefits of becoming a locum or permanent applicant via an agency
  • Agency compliance processes
  • How to stand out in an interview
  • NHSI and what it means for agency staff
  • And AHWS unique new Graduate Scheme for the NHS and private sectors

[People place their undivided trust in healthcare professionals. Allied Health Workforce Solutions place the right healthcare professionals in the right place, at the right time.

Allied Healthcare Workforce Solutions is one of UK’s leading medical recruitment company with a head office based in London.
Our mission is to provide our Candidates and Clients with an excellent recruitment service based on mutual trust and the highest professional standards.
Due to our reputation of exceptional customer service most of our business is done on the basis of referrals from both Candidates and Clients.
This involves working with a wide range of professionals and assisting recruitment within all aspects within Occupational Therapy and other healthcare specialities

Just graduated from Uni and now looking for the next big step in your new career or are you an experienced OT that is looking for the next career step? We are here to help.

 We work with the NHS and private sectors in finding locum and permanent OTs . We are here to help guide you through the recruitment process in terms of CV building, the steps leading up to your new job and types of roles available.

 Get in touch today for free advice; we will be glad to help.]

Post Chat Updates. 

Online transcript

#OTalk Participants

The Numbers


Tues 30th Aug 2016 How OT’s Add Value to the Low Vision Team – with @LYBOT

This week Laura @LYBOT will host #OTALK

About 285 million people in the world have a visual impairment: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Well over half of these individuals are over the age of 50. Approximately 90% of these individuals live in developing countries, where they may not have access to correction for refractive errors (e.g. glasses), eye health services, or OT. Leading causes of visual impairment are cataracts, refractive errors, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. (World Health Organization, 2014). Low vision can affect occupational performance in many areas, from community mobility, to physical exercise to chosen leisure activities (e.g. Schoessow, 2010; Rees, Saw, Lamoureux & Keeffe, 2007). Clearly this is a large community of people who could be served by OT’s, and who perhaps are already! During this week’s #OTalk we will dive into a conversation about how OT’s are contributing and can contribute to the team of people serving individuals who have a visual impairment. The following are some ideas to get us started. OT’s can help:
● Enhance occupational performance and support complex needs of individuals with multiple conditions
● Contribute to an assessment of visual function
● Assess cognition, motor skills, and positioning as they relate to device and compensatory strategy use (Schoessow, 2010; Kaldenberg, Markowitz, Markowitz & Markowitz 2006)
● Make environmental modifications (e.g. add contrast or improve lighting)
● Work with individuals to highlight and use their strengths
● Recommend and train individuals for the use of assistive devices with consideration of environmental, social and personal factors.

As OT’s concerned with the empowerment of individuals and communities, we feel it is important to address the terms we choose because words can make a big difference in shaping attitudes and shifting awareness. Person-first language is promoted within most North American organizations/communities, while terms such as ‘disabled person’, which emphasize the social model of disability (i.e. a person is disabled by the society) are favoured in other parts of the world. Many members of the blind community have chosen to favour ‘blind person’ as an identifier for individuals who have a range of visual impairments. I (Laura) personally prefer to refer to myself as a blind person, choosing this identity first language because it emphasizes that I consider blindness to be a valuable part of who I am. Some use impairment to describe the embodied experience and disability to describe the interactional experience wherein a person is in some way barred from participation; however, the terms impairment and disability have also been criticized for having overly negative connotations. Linguistic choices are important, controversial, ever evolving, and diverse. In our discussion we use the term ‘person with a visual impairment’ as a compromise between the social model (i.e. the disability is not within the person, as person ‘with’ a disability would suggest) and discourses regarding the importance of acknowledging the embodied experience of an impairment. During the discussion we may use other terms, as will individuals who join the conversation – you are encouraged to think about what terms you might choose and why.
● Following are few interesting links on the topic: a blog on Gotta Be OT, a blog by Cara Liebowitz, and a blog by Rachel Kassenbrock.

What is Happening
Following are profiles demonstrating how OT’s are contributing to the empowerment of people who have visual impairments – they are drawn from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists’ OT in Low Vision Rehabilitation Network.

A Clinical Example

Melissa de Wit OT Reg. (Ont.) is working in stroke and geriatric in-patient rehabilitation. She is part of a passionate interdisciplinary in-patient team and collaborates with an optometrist in functional assessment and treatment of visual impairments resulting from acquired brain injury, including visual midline shift, visual neglect, impaired visual memory, visual field cuts, diplopia, and cranial nerve palsies. She has participated in several international specialized courses associated with assessment and treatment for visual processing disorders, neuro-visual postural therapy and prism therapy. Melissa is certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment and is an authorizer for mobility aids in Ontario, Canada. She also has a passion for therapeutic horseback riding and is certified with the American Hippotherapy Association. Other occupational pursuits Melissa enjoys include being a proud mother, playing soccer, horseback riding, reading and gardening.

A Research/Clinical Example
Dr. Tanya Packer is a professor of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has been heavily involved in low vision rehabilitation research around the world. In Australia, Tanya contributed to research on, among many other topics, the psychological and emotional aspects of vision loss. She was also involved in research on self-management programs for people with vision loss , which were associated with improvements in occupational participation and well-being. A notable self-management program that Tanya co-developed in Australia, called Living Safe, has, with her efforts, been implemented at CNIB in Halifax. Living Safe teaches self-defence skills to people with a visual impairment. It aims to increase confidence in home and community environments. A CNIB article showcasing positive reviews of the program can be found here . Currently, in addition to her research work, Tanya serves on the National Board for CNIB and works closely with Dalhousie students who complete fieldwork placements at CNIB.

Conclusion & Invitation
From promoting research and evidence-based practice, to using their holistic OT perspective to empower individuals in removing barriers to participation, OT’s have a strong role to play within vision rehab. We gave only a couple of examples of how OT’s are contributing, and invite you to share more when you join us on August 30th 2016 at 12 noon Pacific Daylight Time (click here for a time-zone conversion).  We will discuss questions such as:
● How can OT uniquely contribute to the interdisciplinary team in vision rehab?
● How can we prove the value of OT in vision rehab?
● What experience of working with people with visual impairments have you had?

Note 1: As the OT in Low Vision Rehabilitation Network develops we are working on articles, workshops, and presentations to discuss the role of OT in this area. The transcript from this #OTalk may be used to contribute to a greater understanding of the global story. Any ideas or tweets used will be anonymous. If you do not wish to have any of your tweets or a particular tweet used, please let us know. The research ethics board at the University of British Columbia has been consulted and it was concluded that ethical approval for this was unnecessary.
Note 2: Thank you to Ellen Johnson, Kathleen Sullivan, and Minnie Teng for their assistance putting this blog together.

Kaldenberg, J., Markowitz, M., Markowitz, R. E., & Markowitz, S. N. (2011). The multi-disciplinary nature of low vision rehabilitation- A case report. Work, 39(1), 63-66.

Schoessow, K. (2010) Shifting from compensation to participation: a model for occupational therapy in low vision. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(4), 160-169.

Rees, G., Saw, C. L., Lamoureux, E. L., & Keeffe, J. E. (2007). Self-management programs for adults with low vision: needs and challenges. Patient education and counseling, 69(1), 39-46.

World Health Organization. (2014). Visual impairment and blindness: Fact sheet N°282. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/

Post Chat Updates

The Numbers

1,203,676 Impressions
379 Tweets
31 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Online Transcript 

PDF of Transcript #OTalk – 30 August 2016

#OTalk – 23rd August 2016 – The impact of dysfunctional sleeping patterns on inpatient mental health facilities

This week’s #OTalk will be hosted by Erin (@erinnnnn14). Join us tonight on Twitter using the #OTalk hashtag at 8pm GMT+1 (click the link to convert to your local time – opens in new window).


Sleep as an occupation is still a frequently contested concept in our profession. Literature suggests that it is because sleep is considered as ‘time wasted’, something that we are not directly engaging with or something we can influence or direct (Green, 2008). However, the lack of, or dysfunctional sleeping patterns, can affect the occupational performance of the activities that we engage in during the day. Sleep problems can have a detrimental affect on our physical and mental health. Frequently, inpatient mental health facilities offer ‘Sleep Hygiene’ groups to facilitate better understanding of the importance of ‘good sleep’ but is this enough to be able to support patient care and recovery?


I’m currently an MSc (pre-registration) student. I am just finishing a placement in a mental health rehabilitation hospital for males. The therapy programme is rich, varied and tailored towards the needs of the patients however sleep is something that continually affects patient engagement. I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences and how we should best proceed as professionals to better support the patients we work with.


Questions I would like to consider this evening with regards to this are as follows:


  1. (The big question!) Should we consider sleep as a meaningful occupation?
  2. What role does OT have with regards to sleep dysfunction?
  3. How can better sleep routines be incorporated into the clinical environment?
  4. If sleep is considered as a coping strategy for a patient then how can OT support them to access other means of managing?
  5. What strategies can be put in place by an MDT to better support functional sleep routines for patients?
  6. What are the advantages and challenges for the profession with regards to developing our understanding of the role of occupational therapy and sleep?
  7. What are your experiences, challenges and difficulties in your settings with regards to sleep?
  8. Final thoughts, ‘lightbulb’ moments and hopes for the future for the profession and sleep.

Post Chat Updates

The Numbers

2,176,148 Impressions
747 Tweets
60 Participants

Online Transcript

PDF of Transcript: #OTalk 23 August 2016

#OTalk Participants