#OTalk 30th May – Occupational Therapy and paid work for individuals with learning disabilities.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “What are the considerations for occupational therapists in practice with regards to paid work for individuals with a learning disability?” and will be hosted by Erin Rolfe (@Erinnnnn14).

Here is what Erin had to say…


Statistics published by Mencap (2016) highlighted that only 6% of individuals with a learning disability known to their local authority were in paid work in comparison to 74% of those in the general population. Why is this so low? There is continual discussion by central government and media outlets regarding the economic position of the country and pressure on the job market however is there gap in practice that occupational therapists could provide to support individuals with a learning disability to access paid work if that is their occupational choice?
Law et al identify ‘productivity’, whether that is paid or voluntary work, alongside self-care and leisure as important occupational areas that individuals need to engage in for their health and well-being. The absence of this can be detrimental whether that is due to the person or the environment that they are in. Work can provide roles, routine, finance support and identity formation and exploration for individuals. Without it, or the choice to participate in it, can lead to negative feeling upon health and well-being for individuals.

This is an area I have limited knowledge of at the moment but have chosen to explore as part of my training. I am looking forward to discussing this area and experiences with everyone and to gain a better understanding of the issues and considerations.

Questions to consider:

  1. Do you/have you worked in a learning disability service(s) and what were the priorities placed on gaining vocational skills/work placements?
  2. What do you feel are the differences in terms of paid and voluntary work aside from monetary gain?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of supporting an individual with learning disabilities to gain paid employment as opposed to voluntary employment?
  4. What are the considerations for the service/setting when accessing these opportunities?
  5. What skills as occupational therapists do we have to support individuals with a learning disability to gain paid employment?
  6. Should there be more emphasis on gaining paid employment for individuals with learning disabilities?
  7. What action could services take to gain support from workplaces to gain work for individuals?
  8. Do we feel that there needs to be more support from central government with regards to attaining work placements for individuals with learning disabilities first or should health and social care professionals be advocating for clients before changes will happen?

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

929.282K Impressions
319 Tweets
18 Participants
255 Avg Tweets/Hour
18 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 23rd May 2017 Occupational Therapy role in supporting people with managing eating activities. 

This week Nat Jones @natlouj will be hosting the chat.

My research is focused on the experience of stroke survivors with managing eating difficulties (Jones 2016) however more broadly I am passionate about how Occupational Therapists can support children and adults to manage eating activities. I am interested in your views on the role of Occupational Therapy is in this area, what strategies are successful and which assistive devices help?

So why is this important?

There is a growing awareness of the aging population and the concern for potential increases in dependency on health and welfare against a backdrop of people living for longer with multiple health conditions. In response to recent research and current health policy the government have commissioned several reports that highlight the importance of managing eating difficulties in healthcare settings. The Francis Report and the Malnutrition Task Force Report 2013 have galvanised the need for health professionals to take action to address this critical issue.

The risks of not eating sufficiently are well documented (Finestone et al. 1995, Westergren et al, 2002). If people don’t eat well it can result in malnutrition, reduced muscle strength and low mood which have been linked to higher mortality rates (McLaren & Dickerson 2000). To prevent nutritional complications the Royal College of Physicians National Guidelines for Stroke (ISWP 2016) and the National Institute of Clinical Care and Excellence guidelines (NICE Guideline 2006) advocate that people with feeding difficulties are provided with appropriate support and assistive devices to help.

There has been an increase in calls for researchers and clinicians to think about the challenges faced by people with eating difficulties. Occupational Therapists can make a significant contribution to identifying barriers to independence and co-creating solutions. I am interested to hear your views on what you think the role of Occupational Therapy is in helping children and adults to manage eating difficulties, the challenges you have faced and whether you think the current products/disability devices meet with needs of people with eating difficulties.

Questions for consideration:

1. What do you consider the role of Occupational Therapy to be in supporting children/adults with eating difficulties and what is our unique contribution?

2. Are there any devices and/or strategies you would recommend?

3. Do you think there are any gaps in technology/devices to assist with eating activities?

4. What is your view on the psychological impact of eating difficulties?

5. Ideas for new innovations let’s share…
Finestone, H.M. et al., 1995. Malnutrition in stroke patients on the rehabilitation service and at follow-up: prevalence and predictors. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 76, pp.310–316

ISWP- Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party (2016) National Clinical Guideline for stroke London: Royal College of Physicians. Available at: http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk.

Jones, N. (2016) ‘Experiences of stroke survivors with managing eating in the longer term. ‘British Journal of Occupational Therapy 78, (8) available at:bjo. sagepub. com
McLaren, S.M.G. & Dickerson, J.W.T, 2000. Measurement of eating disability in an acute stroke population. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 4(3), pp.109–120. Available at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1361900400901286.

Westergren, A., Ohlsson, O. & Hallberg, I.R., 2002. Eating diffculties in relation to gender , length of stay , and discharge to institutional care , among patients in stroke rehabilitation. Disability and rehabilitation, 24(10), pp.523–533.

Post Chat

Online transcript

The Numbers

947.837K Impressions
218 Tweets
23 Participants
174 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 16th May 2017 – Occupational therapy and the general election 2017

This week’s chat will be hosted by Samantha Tavender @samOTantha

Politics impacts the present and the future of occupational therapy.  Weather we like it or not, politics effects most aspects of our daily lives.  It most certainly will have an impact on the occupational therapy profession.

It impacts the number of occupational therapists who are employed and the types of employment opportunities available to occupational therapists. Policies and budgets effect the types of services we have funding to provide. Changes to pensions and pay rises may have an impact on the quality of life of professionals in the future.  There are many ways in which politics impacts the profession, but we also must consider the impact it has on the service users with whom we work with.
The first aim of this weeks OTalk is not to discuss who is voting for which party but for an open discussion to take place regarding the relevance of politics to occupational therapy and why it is important that we become involved.

The second aim will discuss how as a profession we are supporting service users before and during the general election to understand their rights, their choices and identifying potential barriers to an individual feeling involved and empowered in the process.

Suggested Talking Points:

1) What policies do you think will have the biggest impact on the future of occupational therapy?
2) When voting what policies are important to you as an individual?

3) Regardless of the outcomes of the June general election, how can we as a profession become more involved in politics and why do you think this is important?

4) Why is it important that as occupational therapists we support service users in exercising their right to vote?

5) What are potential barriers for services users to not being able to vote in the upcoming election ?

6) How can we facilitate discussions around politics to support service users in understanding how politics will impact their life and how can we support them in making informed choices?

7) Examples from current practice of how services and occupational therapists are supporting service users to vote in the upcoming election.

Links to resources:

To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May 2017.

How to register:


Guide to voting by proxy DEADLINE:31st May 2017:


Royal college of occupational therapy, promoting occupational therapy during the general election:


A guide to voting from Mencap, with accessible information:


A guide to voting from ENABLE:


Unbiased information:



Not sure who to vote for:


Post Chat

online Transcript

The Numbers

1.753M Impressions
570 Tweets
50 Participants
456 Avg Tweets/Hour
11 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk Research – Tuesday 6th June 2017

June’s #OTalk Research chat will be hosted by @ROTTERSPlym on the topic of ‘Feel the fear and start doing research tomorrow.’


Intro Blog:


When thinking about hosting #OTalk Research the ROTTERS curry club (Hocking et al, 2017) members looked at the previous #OTalks on research. The #OTalk research of 10th May 2016—what does it mean to engage with research within practice?—highlighted that we all know what the barriers to research in a clinical setting are. It’s important to recognise these, but the negative consequences of not doing research are too great for the profession. Occupational therapists need to ‘lean in’ (Sandberg, 2015) and start to do research in clinical practice. We also discussed how other professionals appear to us to be more focussed, i.e. better at explaining their role to others and doing (clinical) tasks in a systematic way. The group recognised the need to move forward and address this by being more focussed that is, explaining occupational therapy clearly in the workplace and measuring outcomes of practice. In keeping with the ‘lean in’ ethos we, as occupational therapists, need to change the conversation from what we can’t do in terms of research to what we can do. For some members this reminded them of a talk that Jen McAnuff (NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, Newcastle University) and Sam Armitage (Senior Occupational Therapist, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust) gave at the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Children, Young People and Families Annual Conference 2016 called ‘Five ways to implement evidence based-practice, starting Monday’.

Building on Jen and Sam’s challenge this #OTalk Research—Feel the fear and start doing research tomorrow—is a rallying cry for us to work together to act. As a starting point here are some questions to think about:

  • What are the facilitators of your participation in research?
  • What resources can we all draw upon within our organisation and within research community?
  • Who do we need to collaborate within and outside your usual clinical and research networks to make research happen?
  • What is the first step you will take tomorrow to progress research in your area of work?


Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 21.44.35



Hocking M, Warren A, Bannigan K (2017) CPD with a twist: The ROTTERS curry club. OT News (2) 46-47

McAnuff J, Armitage S (2016) ‘Five ways to implement evidence based-practice, starting Monday’. College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Children, Young People and Families Annual Conference 2016 (personal communication)

Sandberg S (2015) Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. London: WH Allen

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1.209M Impressions
495 Tweets
38 Participants
396 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 9th May – Working out loud on the ‘Career Development Framework: Guiding Principles for Occupational Therapy’.

This weeks #Otalk is about the ‘Career Development Framework” being developed by The Royal College of Occupational Therapists with and project lead Dr Stephanie Tempest.

The chat will be co hosted by @TheRCOT and @SetG75.

Heres what Stephanie had to say….

Do you:

  • Want to think about all the skills and knowledge you have acquired in your career so far?
  • Want to think about where to take your learning and career next?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to either or both of the questions above, then the Career Development Framework is the tool for you.  Or at least it will be, once it’s finished!


And that is what we’d like to chat about during this OTalk.  Here at the Royal College of Occupational Therapy, we’ve spent that last 10 months working with a virtual advisory group (n=200) to co-create this exciting new resource. It is now out for consultation, which ends on Thurs 11th May. The discussions from this OTalk will form part of the consultation process (another CPD activity in itself) to shape the final framework, due for completion in Autumn 2017.

The Framework is made up of Nine Career Levels adapted from Skills for Health, and Four Pillars of Practice adapted from NHS Education Scotland (both used with kind permission). We have created a set of guiding principles for each Career level and Pillar (see the graphics below to get more of an idea).

Before the OTalk session, we are asking you to visit the following link:


There you will find the consultation document with all the details you need, including larger versions of the graphics below. We’d like you to have a go at completing the Career Profile tool (pg. 5 for tips on how to complete and pg. 6 for the tool), which currently looks like this:


Questions for us to discuss:

Which of the four pillars has your learning focused on the most in the last year?

How easy did you find the mapping process?

What surprised you / didn’t surprise you?

How clear was the wording?

What would help transfer the Framework into practice?

We really look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as we seek to develop a practical and accessible resource for all occupational therapy personnel (support workers, students and registered professionals), in all work settings, at all career stages. Thank you.


Pillarslevel 6

Post Chat information

Online transcript

The Numbers

1,523,539 Impressions
564 Tweets
58 Participants
451 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants