#OTalk 31st July 2018 – The use of Sensory Based Interventions in Psychiatric Settings.

This weeks chat is on the use of sensory based approaches in psychiatric settings and will be hosted by Rachel Rule (@RRuleOT).  Here is what Rachel had to say…

Champagne and Stromberg (2004) discuss the use of sensory approaches as innovative alternatives to restraint and seclusion for people residing in psychiatric inpatient settings. Sensory interventions are found to offer creative strategies and promote health and recovery and can be applied across various age groups, diagnoses and levels of care. Scanlan and Novak (2015) also highlight sensory based interventions as being non-invasive, self-directed and empowering. Sensory based interventions can support recovery-focused and trauma informed practice in the self-management of distress.

At the 2017 Royal College of Occupational Therapy conference I attended a ‘Sensory Circuits’ Occupation Station, facilitated by Laura Smalley and Jamie Lee Nelson. The session showcased the group that Laura and Jamie were currently running in their inpatient mental health setting, with children and adolescents. Engaging in this session and further email conversations with Laura has driven a personal inspiration to learn more about the use of sensory based interventions in psychiatric settings. In my second-year placement in a CAMHS hospital I replicated this session with support of my practice educator, and the feedback from the young people was highly positive. The sensory sessions were delivered in conjunction with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and supported the young people to make links between their body, mind and actions. The young people repeatedly requested the sensory circuits session and 1:1 sessions where they could develop their coping strategies with the use of the items provided. These items could be readily purchased at home, to support wellbeing in the community when they were discharged from hospital.

Sensory based interventions could include the use of coloured lights, aromatherapy, textured items, sweet, salty or sour flavours and relaxing music or sounds. Weighted blankets can be used to provide deep pressure and touch. Personalised, smaller sensory kits can also be created to be used independently (Scanland and Novak, 2015; Champage, Koomar and Olson, 2010; Champagne and Stromberg, 2004).

Have you ever used sensory based approaches in practice?  Which area of psychiatric practice do you work in?

  1. What do you perceive to be the barriers or benefits to using sensory based approaches in psychiatric settings? What made you chose to/chose not to use this approach historically?
  2. What would the role of the Occupational Therapist be in facilitating sensory based interventions?
  3. Do you feel that sensory based approaches could reduce the use of seclusion and restraint in your area of practice?
  4. How would you envision the use of sensory based interventions within your current practice setting?


Champagne, T. and Stromberg, N. (2004) ‘Sensory approaches in inpatient psychiatric settings. Innovative alternatives to seclusion and restraint’, Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, 42(9), pp. 33-44.

Champagne, T., Koomar, J. and Olson, L. (2010) ‘Sensory processing evaluation and intervention in mental health’, OT Practice, 15, pp. 1-7.

Scanlan, J. N. and Novak, T. (2015) ‘Sensory approaches in mental health: a scoping review’, Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62(5), pp. 277-285.

Post Chat

Host; Rachel Rule (@RRuleOT)

Support on the #OTalk account;  Rachel Booth @OT_rach

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 31st 2018

The Numbers

831.511K Impressions
287 Tweets
43 Participants
230 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk 24th July 2018 – Play as a Goal in Paediatric OT

This weeks chat is on the topic of play as a goal in paediatric OT and will be hosted by our Student Digital Intern Carolina (@Colourful_OT).  Here is what Carolina has to say…

Play is recognised as one of children’s most important occupations and forms a major part of paediatric occupational therapy. However, a paper published this year (Moore and Lynch, 2018) found that the paediatric occupational therapists surveyed primarily used play as a “means” (e.g. using play to build rapport or as an intervention to improve motor skills) rather than as an “end” of therapy (e.g. carrying out interventions to enable a child to participate in play activities), and rarely set goals that related to children’s occupational performance in play. Barriers to play-centred practice identified included lack of education regarding play and play being perceived as a “waste of time” amongst parents and teachers unless it was being used for skill acquisition.

As a student who recently finished a placement in primary care paediatrics in which play was used extensively to improve handwriting and gross/fine motor skills, I found this paper thought-provoking, and I wanted to see what experience other occupational therapists have had of goal-setting around play. I am particularly interested to see if different approaches to play are taken in different areas of practice, and how setting goals relating to participation in play fits into other core concepts in occupational therapy, such as being occupation-focused and being child- and family-centred.

#OTalk discussion questions for this chat:

  1. Do you have experience of setting therapy goals or measuring outcomes relating to children’s participation in play?
  2. Do other occupations such as schoolwork and ADLs tend to take priority over play occupations in paediatric practice, and why?
  3. Can children’s play be accurately assessed using play assessments (e.g. the Play Observation Scale) and should these be more widely used?
  4. Do you think involving children more in goal-setting would lead to more play-focused therapy goals?


Alice Moore, Helen Lynch, (2018) “Play and play occupation: a survey of paediatric occupational therapy practice in Ireland”, Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 46 Issue: 1, pp.59-72, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOT-08-2017-0022

Post Chat

Online transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 24th 2018

The Numbers

722.610K Impressions
138 Tweets
16 Participants
110 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk 17th July 2018 – Models of Practice Education.

This weeks chat is on the topic of practice education models and will be hosted by Mary Mulry (@MulryMary).  Mary is a lecturer and practice education coordinator in Occupational Therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University. Here is what Mary had to say…

Practice education is an area of growing interest for me since assuming the role of Practice Education Coordinator last year. The role has opened my eyes to the challenges facing both educational institutions and practice educators in sourcing and providing adequate placements for occupational therapy students. Practice education is the backbone of our education as occupational therapists, yet despite its importance, there is an acknowledged shortage of placements.

With growing numbers of students needing placements, increasing resource shortages and lower staffing ratios, there is a growing expectation on occupational therapists to take more students every year. It is documented that a one to one model of practice education has its benefits however given the growing pressures on services and occupational therapists there is a greater need for practice educators and educational institutions to consider other models of practice education.

The move towards other models of practice education needs careful consideration. It needs to be evidence based and ensure that the quality of the placement is maintained. Peer learning has been documented as being beneficial when considering models of practice education, this facilitation of peer learning needs significant consideration when coordinating placements (Martin et al, 2004; Price et al, 2016).

The following are some questions to be considered:

  • What is your experience and/opinion of practice education models (practice educators and students)?
  • What supports do you feel need to be put in place for practice educators implementing the 3:1 or 2:1 model?
  • What are the benefits and/or challenges in implementing these models of practice education (3:1 and 2:1)?
  • Would you consider supporting students of various levels or of the same level as part of implementing 3:1 or 2:1 models of practice education?
  • Do you think some settings are more suited to implementing these models of practice education than others?


Martin, M. Morris, J. Moore, A. Sadio, G. and Crouch, V. (2004) Evaluating practice education models in occupational therapy: comparing 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 placements. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 67(5) pp. 192-200.

Price, D. and Whiteside, M. (2016) Implementing the 2:1 student placement model in occupational therapy: Strategies for practice. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 63(2) pp. 88-95.

Post chat

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 17th 2018

The Numbers

760.015K Impressions
175 Tweets
140 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk Chats – Question and Answer Session. 10 July 2018

Good evening all,

#Otalk ___

We would like to invite you to join us for an informal question and answer session. 8pm (UK), Tuesday 10th July 2018.

This topic was sparked whilst the #OTalk organising team where having our last planning meeting. We noticed that this year at the current moment, although some slots are taken after we have slots for topics (& hosts) from 28th August 2018. This in contrast to last year when we where almost booked up to end of the year by end of July! Oh but it is only the 10th of July I hear you say! You are correct, but we had a space and thought it would be a good idea for the chat.

So, please feel free to ask any questions you may have about any aspect of #OTalk, but we would love to explore questions from people who are considering hosting a chat.

We would love any previous #OTalk hosts to join us and share their experience of hosting a chat.

We will also allocate some time for people to share what topics they are interested in with a view to possible collaborations or joint hosted chats?

As always we are open to ideas and will consider all requests from the community.

Thanks, looking forward to sharing with you all.

Post Chat

Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 10th 2018

The Numbers

399.544K Impressions
83 Tweets
19 Participants
66 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants