Host: Chloe Kitto Specialist Occupational Therapist RNOH Pain Rehab UCL Hon Lecturer @chloe_kitto
I am excited for the opportunity to lead the #OTalk Research discussion for August. This September, I am embarking on a clinical research pathway and when it comes to designing my project, I am determined to keep an occupation-based approach. Why? The article below, written eight years ago by Robinson et al inspired, challenged and concerned me. Here is an excerpt –
“Descriptions of contemporary occupational therapy practice largely do not reflect the use of occupation as both ends and means. These gaps must be addressed if future practice is to embrace an occupational perspective of health. Occupational therapists urgently need to generate evidence of the efficacy of occupation-based interventions for people [with chronic pain] and become experts in using evidence to support practice. This article is a red flag to the profession; if occupational therapists do not act quickly to address the limitations of current practice, other professional groups will continue to develop expertise in the use of activity. If occupational therapists complacently continue to practice without attention to their professional domain, the
opportunities to develop occupational therapy in line with the occupational needs of people [with chronic pain] will eventually no longer exist.”
This article focuses on the role of OT within a chronic pain population (which is my field); however, I suspect the message has a wider application. The caution that the authors pose – that other professions will continue to develop in the use of activity – is now very much a reality in chronic pain. So much so that most pain management programmes in this country do not employ OTs, and physiotherapists, nurses, and psychologists are upskilling quickly to provide functional interventions. This is a strong factor which has influenced me to pursue research now in my career. How can I (we) be confident that OT research projects maintain an occupation-based focus?
I am interested in exploring with the #OTalk community the concept of occupation-based research by asking the following:
1. In your view, what is occupation-based research?
2. In your view, what is NOT occupation-based research?
3. What makes this distinction challenging?
4. Is it important that OT research be occupation-focused? Why?
5. How do we make occupation-based research interesting to the wider health world?
6. What key occupations need a research spotlight on them?
I am happy to continue networking with other OTs who are interested in occupation-based research – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for your interest and I look forward to discussing this topic with you next Tuesday evening.
Reference Robinson, K., Kennedy, N., & Harmon, D. (2011). The Issue Is—Is occupational therapy adequately meeting the needs of people with chronic pain? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 106–113.
Host: Chloe Kitto @chloe_kitto
Support on the OTalk account: Nikki Daniels @NikkiDanielsOT
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