#OTalk 9th December 2014 – ‘Raising the Profile of Activity in Acute Mental Health’

My final placement and first year post-qualifying were spent on acute inpatient mental health wards, so the question of whether OTs are responsible for activity provision is a very familiar one. Thank you to Peter (@ihealthE1) and Lisa (@OT_LisaB) for agreeing to host an #OTalk about how they raise the profile of activity on their wards, whilst balancing the need for individual assessment and discharge preparation. I’ll be travelling back on a train at the time of the chat, so may not be able to participate in the chat (signal-dependent!). Thank you to Kirsty (@kirstyes) for supporting Lisa and Peter in my absence. 

You might like to check out one of our previous #OTalks: “Occupational Therapy and Groupwork“, hosted by @ClaireOT. Another linked chat, an on the topic of boredom, includes resources such as a powerpoint presentation by Karen Newberry entitled “Bored on the ward: is it the occupational therapists problem?”

As usual, the chat will take place on Twitter using the #OTalk hashtag at 8pm GMT (click the link to find out your local time). If you’re new to tweetchats, check out our guide for participants and contact me (@geekyOT) if you need any extra help getting to grips with #OTalk.

– Clarissa

ADDITION: Peter and Lisa have kindly agreed to share the PDF version of their conference poster.

Raising the Profile of Activity in Acute Mental Health

Peter Walton and Lisa Brown are part of an occupational therapy team covering two acute inpatient mental health units in the urban conurbation of Manchester.  They presented a poster entitled ‘”I’m Bored!” – raising the profile of activity in acute mental health’ at the College of Occupational Therapists conference in 2014 and were invited to host this #OTalk after this.

Recent clinical guidance recommends that “service users in hospital have access to a wide range of meaningful and culturally appropriate occupations and activities … These should include creative and leisure activities, exercise, self-care and community access activities” (NICE 2011 p22). Traditionally, Occupational therapists have been perceived to be responsible for the provision of all activities on acute mental health wards (Robinson and Avallone 1990). More recently, inpatient occupational therapists’ work has become primarily discharge-focused assessment and treatment planning on a one-to-one basis. This results in a lack of provision of group and recreational activity that is valued by service users (Radcliffe and Smith 2007) such that “the level of activity of users of acute inpatient services is alarmingly low” (Killaspy et al 2013 p2).

The OT’s in our team promote a culture of activity in the ward environment without taking sole responsibility for delivery. We record activity provision across the wards and produce visual displays of the findings with the aim of influencing staff motivation and levels of activity in the ward environment.

This #OTalk will encourage discussion and debate around the role and strategies of the occupational therapist in influencing ward activities in mental health.

Some questions to consider prior to the chat:

Is it the responsibility of occupational therapists to provide / be responsible for the activity available on acute psychiatric wards?

How do we encourage MDT involvement in the provision of ward activities?

How do you balance group work on acute mental health wards with pressure for discharge assessments?

How far is ward activity provision and promotion part of the job description for an acute mental health OT?


Antonysamy A (2013) How can we reduce violence and aggression in psychiatric inpatient units?  BMJ Quality Improvement Report, 2013 (2). doi:10.1136/bmjquality.u201366.w834

Care Quality Commission (2010) Monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act in 2009/10.  London: Care Quality Commission.  Available at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/documents/cqc_overview_of_monitoring_the_use_of_the_mental_health_act_tagged.pdf  Accessed on 23.04.14.

Mental Health Act Commission (2009) Coercion and Consent: Monitoring the Mental Health Act 2007-2009. London: Stationery Office. Available at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/documents/mhac_biennial_report_0709_final.pdf  Accessed on 23.04.14.

NICE (2011) Service user experience in adult mental health: Improving the experience of care for people using adult NHS mental health services. National clinical guideline 136. London: NICE. Available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13629/57534/57534.pdf Accessed on 23.04.2014.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and welcome to all our new tweeters!

The Numbers

510,414 Impressions
419 Tweets
55 Participants

#OTalk Participants

The transcript of the chat is available to download as a PDF, or view it on the Healthcare Hashtags website.


#OTalk 2nd December 2014 – 2015 Volunteer Planning

Is it really December already?

Well, with only one month to go until 2015 the #OTalk team thought it was time to entice our community into making their New Year’s Resolutions to volunteer to host an #OTalk.

Join us on 2nd December to help us make plans for 2015.

2014 saw the introduction of our Journal (Media) Club on the first Tuesday of each month. Whilst this is set to continue we have decided not to restrict it to a set schedule but to enable Journal (Media) options on any Tuesday. So, have you read an article you want to discuss, seen a film that has given you great insight into the experiences of potential clients or read a novel that made you take a step back from how you have always seen things? If so, book a date with the team and aim to write a short blog post introducing your media to the #OTalk community.

We have also seen great success with chats that have coincided with awareness days/weeks. Is there an awareness subject you are particularly passionate about, or one we’ve covered that we could take a new angle on? If so let us know. Here is a UK calendar for some inspiration. We are happy to talk to our MDT chat counterparts if you think of a topic it would be useful to have a wider perspective on.

Clarissa would like to run the models series again so if you think you can help with this then do contact us. If anyone has a burning passion for applying particular frames of reference in practice too then do get in touch.

If you’ve conducted any research or audit that you’d like to share the findings of then #OTalk is a great way to share that evidence far and wide.

And we always welcome anyone who just has an interest or passion in learning more about a topic to step forward. You don’t have to be an expert to run an #OTalk – some of the chats I’ve found most fun and informative are the ones when we’ve just been exploring a topic that is pretty new to all of us.

If you’d like to volunteer but you can’t be there on Tuesday never fear – just e-mail the team on otalk.occhat@gmail.com with your idea and some potential dates and we’ll be in contact.

I’m unable to be there tomorrow but I’ve booked in two chats for January so I hope you’ll forgive me.


Post chat update:

#OTalk Participants

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the chat, we have lots of ideas and offers. Don’t forget that you can email us anytime to suggest or offer to host a chat.

The Numbers

612,692 Impressions
267 Tweets
37 Participants

The online version of the transcript of the chat can be found here. 

Here is a PDF version of the transcript: #OTalk – 2 Dec 2014