Exploring the Role of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy in Practice, OTalk

#OTalk 19 August 2014 – Occupational Therapy and the Fire Service

Occupational Therapy and the fire service

Date:   19/08/2014 Host: @RGUOTStewart

Blog Post  –  Transcript

After this year’s College of Occupational Therapists conference, we asked our OTalk community if there were any presentations they’d enjoyed enough to want to follow up with a tweetchat. Thank you to @angie_paul for suggesting this session:

78.2 – Evaluating students’ experiences of a placement within the fire service in Scotland

Stewart E(1), Allan K(2), McIntyre A(3),

The Robert Gordon University, UK(1), NHS Education for Scotland, UK(2), NHS Tayside, UK(3)

I’m happy to announce that Elaine Stewart (@RGUOTStewart) has agreed to share her presentation with us and facilitate this week’s #OTalk with some of her students: Eithne O’Reagan (@or_eithne) and Natalie Crawford (@natalielc93).

Tayside Fire and Rescue Services have been working with Health and Social Care Agencies as part of an initiative to reduce fire deaths in Scotland. Key recommendations from this initiative include closer partnership working with Health and Fire Services to identify, access and share information about groups and individuals most at risk from fire. Shaping teams to work in a truly integrated way requires effective partnerships across agencies (The National Delivery Plan for the Allied Health Professions in Scotland, 2012-2015). Education, training and awareness are factors that are important to achieving effective partnership working therefore a joint placement for two Occupational Therapy students within mental health services and the fire service was developed.

This placement was completed in December 2013 with one Year 3 and one Year 4 Occupational Therapy student from Robert Gordon University (RGU) for a period of 6 weeks.  The students participated in a peer model of supervision and spent time within older people’s mental health services and within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  The placement was evaluated thereafter by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and a report completed.  Key benefits stated were the promotion of the profession, collaborative and partnership working and autonomy and consolidation of Occupational Therapy core skills.

Following the placement several events including a partnership event in Tayside with Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health, and the two Occupational Therapy students presented at the College of OT National Conference in Brighton in June 2014.

This is the first type of placement of this nature with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and it is hoped with continued partnership, this will be developed nationally as a model with potential additional pilot placements being currently planned in Aberdeen and again in Tayside for November 2014.

Within the twitter chat I would hope to discuss any other examples of practice similar to this in other areas, and also to discuss the opportunities and challenges that a contemporary placement like this can present.  We would be happy to share any of the experiences of this placement opportunity and how any future involvement could be shaped.

I hope that anyone interested will become involved in the chat.  Myself and the 2 students involved in the placement will be available to discuss this and look forward to it.

As usual, the chat will be held at 8pm BST on Twitter, using the hashtag #OTalk. If you’re new to Twitter chats, check out this handy guide from our colleagues over at #anzOTalk.

EDIT: You can read the transcript of the chat at this link, or download the PDF. A CPD template is available for documenting your engagement with the chat.

The Numbers

540,848 Impressions
38 Participants

#OTalk Participants

EDIT: Thank you to Shelagh Creegan (@shelaghahp), Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, for writing a chat summary and sending some additional posters for our information. Please find her summary below (posted as a comment), and check out the posters:

Fire poster CD 2

Fire Safety A0 poster FINAL

Fire Service Placements Knowledge slide

3 thoughts on “#OTalk 19 August 2014 – Occupational Therapy and the Fire Service”

  1. The following summary was written by Shelagh Creegan (@shelaghahp), Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities:

    On 19 August, Elaine Stewart (@RGUOTStewart), Eithne O’Reagan (@or_eithne) and Natalie Crawford (@natalielc93) guest hosted a professional chat for occupational therapists on Twitter (@otalk).

    The title of the chat was “Occupational therapy and the fire service.” 38 people participated with 408 tweets being made during the hour long conversation. A twitter audience of 540,848 people “lurked” (observed) during the lively discussion.

    In the pre-chat information, Elaine described a role emerging placement for one third year (Natalie) and one fourth year (Eithne) occupational therapy students from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. This unique placement was piloted for 6 weeks in November and December 2013 in Dundee, Scotland. The students split their time between the Community Mental Health Service for Older People and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

    Elaine got the conversation going by asking if the audience knew of other examples of role emerging placements for students split between Occupational Therapy and Fire and Rescue Services. An American occupational therapist tweeted that disability communities in the USA sometimes hosted “in services” with both fire and police departments. An occupational therapist (OT) from England tweeted that she had heard of examples of OTs working in partnership with fire services after fire related incidents.

    The audience agreed unanimously that prevention is key. This triggered discussion about the value of telecare alarm systems for prevention and protection. A tweeter who introduced herself as the daughter of an ex-firefighter stressed the need for collaboration between services in order to manage the risk of fire in a person’s home.

    Eithne and Natalie, the two guest host OT students, concurred with this view (based on their clinical placement experience) suggesting that a joint home fire safety assessment could identify occupational performance issues that a person may have and that the OT could advise on strategies and control measures to be put in place to maximise the person’s safety at home.

    The introduction of assessments as a topic of conversation prompted the sharing of clinical knowledge felt to be of value to occupational therapists looking to engage in joint home safety assessment work. Specific mention was made of the SAFER Home (Canada) assessment and the Cougar Home Safety Assessment (USA).

    Elaine highlighted the dissertation project Eithne had completed in her final year of study in which Eithne had researched, amongst other tools, the Cougar Assessment. Use of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) was suggested by Natalie whilst another occupational therapy tweeter highlighted the Residential Environment Impact Scale (REIS) in care home settings.

    The issue of consent for home fire safety visits was raised by one tweeter. It was explained by the guest hosts that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service can only undertake home fire safety visits with the person’s consent. If consent is not forthcoming alternative measures can be initiated. For example, people living alongside, above and below the person would be offered a home fire safety visit.

    Finally, Elaine asked the audience to think about the opportunities and challenges that a contemporary placement like this can present. She mentioned for example that this preventative partnership work will lead to the testing of another OT student placement split between a Falls Prevention Service and a Scottish Fire and Rescue Community Hub in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2014. The community hub comprises the Fire Service, Police Scotland and local authority colleagues.

    Further opportunities shared by some tweeters involved community OTs working in partnership with the Fire Service to keep elderly people safe and warm at home over winter. The opportunity for reciprocal in-service training was also highlighted.

    Elaine concluded the discussion by mentioning that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service accepted an invitation to participate in undergraduate teaching and the development of online resources for the students at Robert Gordon University.

    Shelagh Creegan (@shelaghahp)
    Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

    Useful links:

    @OTalk professional occupational therapy chat on twitter every Tuesday evening between 8pm and 9pm at otalk.co.uk/2014/08/16/ota

    Transcript for “Occupational Therapy and the Fire Service” http://t.co/LOFh4g21fe

    DVD of role emerging placements

    Our poster

    Cougar Home Safety Assessment (USA) http://www.cjhp.org/Volume4_2006/Issue2/181-196-fisher.pdf

    Fire and fall prevention programme in USA http://t.co/EyAPUpUMUe


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