#OTalk – 7th April 2015 – The Role of the Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Thanks to @ForensicDetail & @OTontheTracks for suggesting this weeks chat and offering to host the chat.

The chat will be at our usual time of 8pm UK click for different time zone conversions

The role of an occupational therapy assistant (OTA/TI/OTSW) is a varied one; impacted by the setting, client group and the individuals experience. COT states “Occupational therapy support workers (also known as occupational therapy assistants/rehabilitation assistants/technical instructors) assist registered occupational therapists in their day-to-day duties.”

OTAs undertake practical tasks to aid the OT in providing therapy to clients/patients but are not qualified in the theoretical knowledge (Alaszweski & Meltzer, 1979 cited in Creek 2007); Does this mean OTs need to oversee OTA as they do their role if they are to ensure the occupational therapy a client received is evidence based.

I (@OTontheTracks) worked as an OTA before starting my OT degree and have encountered OTA’s in various placement settings over my first year. Forensic Detail has recently had OTAs introduced to her team and is interested in how they are supported and their role developed.

We thought it would be interesting to host an #OTalk on the role of OTAs, as this would allow for a greater understanding of the varied role in different settings. To guide the discussion we have come up with some questions to consider:

1. What is the role of an occupational therapy assistant in your setting?

2. What are the pros and cons of standardising the job description of OTAs?

3. How are OTAs supported in their role in your settings?

4. Are OTAs used within your setting to support students on placement with you?

We are looking forward to the discussion on Tuesday. See you there between 8-9 pm.


Creek, Jennifer, and Anne Lawson-Porter, eds. Contemporary issues in occupational therapy: reasoning and reflection. John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

COT (2011) ‘Become an OT Support Worker.’ Accessed 27 January 2015. Available at: http://www.cot.co.uk/support-workers/become-ot-support-worker

Here are the resources to assist in using the chat for your CPD.

Post chat updates:

The Numbers

641,228 Impressions
335 Tweets
39 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Online transcript:  Healthcare Social Media Transcript

PDF transcript: #OTalk – Healthcare Social Media Transcript 7 Apr 15


#OTalk – 31st March 2015 – Focus on Models: Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability

Although it’s hard to pick favourites, the Focus on Models series is one I’ve enjoyed and have been looking forward to developing further. I’m very excited to announce that the next model we’ll be exploring is the Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability.

I discovered this model during one of the SOTLS conferences, and liked it so much I paid to go on the training by Wendy Sherwood. My appetite wasn’t satiated, so I arranged to do my final placement at the Welland Centre. It was a fantastic experience, one which still influences my practice. Although the model can take some time to get your head around, it’s well worth the effort, and there’s a wealth of information on the VdT MoCA Foundation website.  

So without further ado, here’s Alison (@amkane87), Sarah (@vdtmocaot) and Roshni’s (@KhatriRoshni) pre-chat blog post!

-Clarissa (@geekyOT)

VdT MoCA #OTalk Blog

The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability (VdTMoCA) is a developmental and recovery based model of occupational therapy practice that was developed in the late 1960’s in South Africa.  It is based on the theories of motivation, action and normal development.  Central to creative ability theory is the belief that human beings progress through developmental levels of behaviour and skill development and are motivated to develop these in a sequential manner.  As Occupational Therapists, we know that in order to effectively treat someone, we need to understand their current level of occupational functioning. The model identifies that motivation governs all action, therefore in order to understand somebody’s developmental level of motivation, their actions need to be observed.  The model describes specific occupational performance (actions) and corresponding levels of motivation to enable a therapist to identify an individual’s current level of functioning – their level of creative ability – and provides accompanying specific treatment principles to elicit growth to the next level of creative ability.  Creative ability develops within four specific occupational performance areas which are social ability, personal management, use of free time and work ability.

The model is extensively used by South African OT’s and was introduced to the UK in 2004. Since then, Wendy Sherwood (OT and Educator) has been championing the model in order for it to have gained popularity, particularly in mental health and forensic services.  Since 2012 Wendy has led the Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability Foundation UK (VdTMoCAF) to support the community of OT practitioners interested in the use and evidence base of the model.  One initiative of the VdTMoCA Foundation is the development of Centres of Excellence in the use of  the model who share their practice with others.  You can find out more about the model and the work of the foundation at www.vdtmocaf-uk.com

The Berrywood and Welland Adult Acute Mental Health Services at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust  are  the first centre of excellence in the model and have regular open days, welcoming OT staff who are interested in learning more about the model. The Tweet chat hosts are Alison Kane who is currently working as an Occupational Therapist at the Berrywood Hospital, Sarah Wilson who is the OT manager over these services and a VdTMoCAF director, and Roshni Khatri who is a lecturer at the University of Northampton and has used the VdTMoCA in Neuro and Paediatric areas of practice.

Common terms;

Creative Ability; one’s ability to change in response to life’s demands- the creation of oneself (Sherwood, MCAIG 2010).

Creative capacity; total creative potential in an individual.

Useful links;

VdTMoCAF website link

VdT MoCA Open Resource

Post-Chat Update

Thank you to everyone who joined in the chat.

The Numbers

888,751 Impressions
613 Tweets
46 Participants

Sarah has compiled a Storify about the chat which you can read at this link. You can also find the transcript at Healthcare Hashtags, or download the PDF.

Remember to document your participation in your CPD Portfolio. Check out our ‘OTalk and Your CPD‘ page for more info.

#OTalk – 24 March 2015 – Outcome measures: if there could be only one

Please join us and Katrina Bannigan @KatrinaBannigan on the 24th March 2015 at 8pm UK. 

Katrina has written an introduction to the chat on her blog here.

#OTalk Outcome measures…if there could be only one?

Just back from annual leave and remembered I have been given the opportunity to host #OTalk tomorrow to discuss outcome measures. This is not a general discussion about outcome measures but to consider outcome measures in the context of The IHC Plymouth Case Study Project* **.

The aim of The IHC Plymouth Case Study project (#IHCPlymCaseStudy) is to collect single case (n=1) studies using a common framework so that they can be pooled to create larger studies. The challenge is to find an outcome measure that every occupational therapist can realistically use so that the single cases are comparable. A review of measures suggests that the Goal Attainment Scaling-Light (GAS-Light), a simplified version of Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) designed to be usable in routine clinical practice, is the best choice for this project. The rationale for this choice is:

– it is goal-orientated so it is compatible with occupational therapy practice whatever the field.

– it has been designed for use in clinical practice so it has greater utility than the GAS

– it is free to use.

– the scoring enable comparisons to be made between cases.

– it can be used easily in conjunction with other measures.

At recent conferences to discuss the common framework for collecting case studies the delegates agreed that the GAS-Light should be used when collecting data for The IHC Plymouth Case Study Project.

So I am interested in hearing your views on:

(a) What outcome measure do you think every occupational therapist who contributes to The IHC Plymouth Case Study Project should use so that the case studies collected are comparable?

(b) Does the GAS-Light, especially if the goals written have an occupation focus, seem like a workable option?

Please join #IHCPlymCaseStudy for the #OTalk  tweetchat at 8.00-9.00pm 24th March 2015


GAS – Goal Attainment Scaling in Rehabilitation See http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/cicelysaunders/resources/tools/gas.aspx


*You may have heard this called the N=1 study but I  decided, after discussing it with Sam Shann (VP (Finance) WFOT), to change the project name to case study; its so that the project has greater international appeal.

**You may not have heard of the project at all. That is not surprising the project is in its infancy. This blog post is the first blog post. A Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheIHCPlymouthCaseStudyResearchProject) has been set-up but at a recent conference it was highlighted that some people cannot use Facebook because of the firewall in their organisation. Information will be posted on this blog and Facebook to make information about the project available to the widest group of people.


 Post-Chat Update

Thank you to everyone who participated in this very busy chat.

The Numbers

1,010,504 Impressions
609 Tweets
73 Participants

You can read the transcript of the chat at this link or download the PDF. Remember that you can also evidence your participation for your CPD portfolio – check out our CPD resources page.