#OTalk – 20th July – Sustainable Occupational Therapy Practice

This week’s chat will be hosted by Ben Whittaker from Occupational Therapy Susnet @OTSusnet, AHP lead at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare @SusHealthcare and a mental health occupational therapist, and Sonia Roschnik, (also tweeting from @OTSusnet) International Climate Policy Director at Healthcare Without Harm @HCWHeurope @HCWHGlobal and a former occupational therapist.   

Sustainable occupational therapy practice means using resources to deliver healthcare today without compromising the health of current or future generations.  The climate emergency is a health emergency, and as a result, addressing climate change has been described as the greatest health opportunity this century.  

The NHS is the largest employer in Britain and responsible for around 4% of our carbon emissions.  The NHS needs to act for the UK to meet its legally binding 2008 Climate Change Act.  Sustainability is written into the NHS constitution and recently, the NHS has made the formal commitment to become net zero by 2040, with the @GreenerNHS programme.  

Sustainability will be integral to the next national AHP strategy.  Many AHPs, including occupational therapists, are professions that utilise sustainable models of care and a shortage of AHPs could be described as a contributing factor to current high carbon care.  

Sustainability is a Master Project for the WFOT.  In 2012, WFOT stated that Occupational therapists need to “re-evaluate practice models and expand clinical reasoning about occupational performance to include sustainable practice.”  In 2018, WFOT published Sustainability Matters which detailed five sustainability guiding principles.  RCOT have stated that these guiding principles need incorporating into UK curricula and cited them in the RCOT professional standards and code of ethics. 

Sustainable Quality Improvement (SusQI) methodology joins carbon reduction to the core aim of providing the best possible healthcare. WFOT’s QUEST strategy includes sustainability as one of the seven quality indicators applicable to all settings for occupational therapy practice.  

In order for occupational therapy practice to be sustainable it needs to address the triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental agendas, which are interdependent.  The examples of social and economic benefits in RCOT’s Improving Lives, Saving Money campaign also reduce carbon and bring environmental benefits.  

Unsustainable human occupations are driving climate change and occupational therapists have a chance to address this outside of traditional healthcare settings. We can work as behaviour change specialists in council sustainability teams or charities by using occupational therapy approaches with a ‘well’ population that want to address sustainable living goals.  For example, by using Green Lifestyle Redesign: https://networks.sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/networks/ot-susnet/creating-sustainable-lifestyle

We look forward to exploring the above areas with others in the OTalk chat, hearing people’s thoughts, ideas and examples of sustainable practice.  

Questions from the WFOT’s Sustainability Guiding Principles: 

Principle 1: Understanding sustainability 

Q1. What skills do you need to learn at this point to help you work more successfully with individuals and communities to help them reflect about sustainability of their actions as they choose and participate in meaningful occupations?

Principle 2: Mitigation of environmental damage due to unsustainable lifestyles

Q2. What could you do as an individual to help reduce the carbon footprint within your practice setting?

Principle 3: Helping service users adapt to the consequences of environmental damage

Q3. How can you help people in the community (individually or in groups) develop skills in and use of their pADLs to advocate for themselves so that they can access resources needed to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate change?

Principle 4: Community sustainability

Q4. What might you include in an education program for small groups in the community about sustainability and its relationship to daily occupational performance?

Principle 5: Developing professional competence

Q5. What kind of educational support do you need in order to become competent in contributing to sustainability in your practice and how should this support be provided?


Whittaker B & Roschnik S (2020) A Greener Future. OTnews, 28(11), 24-27 

World Federation of Occupational Therapists (2012) Position statement on environmental sustainability, sustainable practice within occupational therapy. Forrestfield, Au: WFOT.

World Federation of Occupational Therapists (2018) Sustainability Matters: Guiding Principles for Sustainability in Occupational Therapy Practice, Education and Scholarship.  


CSH Networks (including Occupational Therapy Susnet): https://networks.sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/

Greener NHS: https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/

Health Care without Harm: https://noharm-europe.org/

Post Chat

Link to Sustainable Occupational Therapy Practice Resource Map

The Numbers

2.506M Impressions
357 Tweets
22 Participants
16 Avg Tweets/Hour
16 Avg Tweets/Participant


#OTalk – 13th July 2021 – #RCOT2021 Reflections

This #OTalk will discuss and reflect on the recent #RCOT2021 conference and will be hosted by @Kirstie_OT.

#RCOT2021has recently taken place over 30 June & 1st July. RCOT’s 44th annual conference, the first held virtually on an online platform, was attended by over 1500 people from across the UK and internationally, with representatives from some other countries OT professional bodies and from WFOT (@thewfot). The conference had 4 themes, chosen by members –

Equality, diversity and inclusion.

The impact of occupational therapy.

New ways of working.

Rehabilitation and recovery.

There were 80 abstracts/sessions and posters, 18 topic specific chat rooms, 10 RCOT insight sessions, 8 round table networking sessions, and seven keynote plenary sessions with nearly all the sessions available on demand for the next 6 months.

In his opening welcome to the conference @SteveGFord , CEO of @theRCOT, encouraged delegates to enjoy, debate, discuss, learn and grow as individuals and as a profession. Even if you didn’t go, there was opportunity to see or hear about some of the content and discussion reflected in tweets or what colleagues may have shared with you. So, let reflect together on it.

The questions we will be considering are

  1. Did you attend #RCOT2021? What influenced your choice?
  2. From what you saw of it/ heard of it/ contributed to it what was something that you gained?
  3. Conference had 4 official themes – from your experience of it so far was there anything that was the biggest focus?
  4. How will you apply what you gained from #RCOT2021?
  5. #RCOT2021 content will be available for 6 months (and tickets are still available to buy up to end of July), how will you use this resource?

Post Chat

The Numbers

1.990M Impressions

338 Tweets

45 Participants

14 Avg Tweets/Hour

8 Avg Tweets/Participant 


#OTalk research chat – 6th July 2021 – “The Dream Team: what makes an excellent research team?”

This #OTalk research chat will be hosted by @REfLECTS_Study and @AlisonA13414330, with @preston_jenny on the #OTalk account.

Twitter handles for the Dream Team: 

@REfLECTS_Study, @YvonneCodd, @StapletonTadhg, @bevaturtle, @PatriciaMac16, @LoureneAbbi, @Feemo15, @AlisonA13414330

Twitter handles for the even Dreamier Team:

@CamilaQuel, @geo_fish93, @dr_epower, @traboccant

Recently, we had the absolute privilege of hosting a one-week, virtual, stroke bootcamp event for Allied Health Professionals from all over the UK and Ireland. The concept for the bootcamp arose from the preparatory training activities we had undertaken in preparation for delivery of our randomised controlled trial in mirror box therapy with sub-acute stroke patients – the @REfLECTS_Study.  We had benefitted from this training and were of the opinion that a similar intensive and immersive training programme would benefit other therapists working in the area of stroke rehabilitation.

Whilst we received many very positive comments throughout the week about the content of the bootcamp, we were not really prepared for the exceedingly complimentary comments about our @REfLECTS_Study team, including being labelled a ‘dream team’.  

This has led to much reflection about what makes a ‘dream team’ and whether we are deserving of that title? 

Our large team of 18 members comprises clinical and healthcare support staff, academics, researchers, technical and business support staff. The team began to develop 10 years ago and have been working together since then; firstly on a small scale pilot study and subsequently growing into a multi-centre, cross jurisdictional, RCT study team.  

We know our team ‘works’ but we hadn’t really stopped to considered why it works so well. 

When we carried out some debriefs after the event, the unanimous comment from all of the team members we spoke to was that the feeling of belonging to part of the team was considered important but that the support and encouragement team members had given each other during the week was truly valued. This included pushing each other out of comfort zones and challenging each other to embrace new activities.   This was commonplace as we were in a wholly new environment – delivering training in a TV studio and presenting live to camera. During the week of the bootcamp the team cohesiveness was evident with each individual drawing upon their own unique set of knowledge and skills to perform to the highest level. This cohesiveness was somehow transmitted across the virtual environment to the trainees at the other end side of the virtual screen. 

However, we also noted in our debriefing session that another team we were working with during the bootcamp gave us a tantalising glimpse into a further level of collegiality with respect to supporting individual research learning and performance. In fact, we began to somewhat jealously wish that we belonged to that team!  The team from @UTSPhysio, led by Dr David Kennedy (@traboccant) were conducting a series of focus groups on unilateral neglect during the week. As local collaborators, one of our team members joined each focus group session. We noted that at the end of each group, the team members actively sought feedback on their individual performance from the other team members in an attempt to develop their own skills, no matter how junior or senior their perceived position in the team.  In response, the other team members would gently suggest changes in approach or enhancements to individual performance which were all warmly and eagerly received. 

At risk of losing some of my own team members to Australia, as lead of the @REfLECTS_Study group, it has propelled me into reflecting upon what makes a (clinically focused) research team excellent? 

Questions to debate during the OTalk hour:

  1. What are your experiences of working within (or alongside) a clinical research team? 
  2. What factors do you think facilitate clinical research team cohesion? 
  3. What barriers can be encountered by working within a clinical research team and how can they be overcome? 
  4. What actions do you think the team leader can take to support each team member enhance their own performance within the team? 
  5. What actions can the individual team member take to develop their team performance? 
  6. Thinking of a (clinical or research) team that you have been part of, what one aspect do you feel was the key to overall team excellence? 


The Numbers

1.852M Impressions

219 Tweets

30 Participants

9 Avg Tweets/Hour

7 Avg Tweets/Participant 


#OTalk 29th June 2021 – Working with older people through Covid-19

This OTalk is hosted by RCOT Specialist Section for Older People (@RCOT_OP).

The global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has had huge direct and indirect impacts on the ageing population. In some settings Occupational Therapists have been experiencing the direct impact of people having the disease, and in others the indirect impacts of social isolation, reduced community services and the lock down restrictions. 

The RCOT Specialist Section for Older People want to start discussions about the impact the pandemic has had on Occupational Therapists working with older people, and the people they are working with. The questions and discussion for the OTalk have been informed by emerging themes from a piece of work looking into the impact of Covid-19 on hospitalised older people through follow up. These include changes in the Clinical Frailty Scores from pre-admission to discharge and follow up, significant changes in function, and added pressure on the health and social care systems through additional packages of care, equipment needs and ongoing professional input required. 

The questions to facilitate discussion on the night will include: 

  1. Are Occupational Therapists using a Clinical Frailty Score in screening and initial assessments of people presenting with Covid-19? 
  2. Did people see a change in frailty score as a result of Covid-19?
  3. What are peoples experiences of seeing a change in functional level in older people as a result of Covid-19?
  4. How did Covid-19 impact discharge planning, decisions and destinations from hospital? immediate and long term.


The Numbers

1.014M Impressions

253 Tweets

49 Participants

11 Avg Tweets/Hour

5 Avg Tweets/Participant 


#OTalk – 22nd June 2021 – Using podcasts for CPD

This weeks talk is hosted by @Ruth_Hawley and @OT_KateT who jointly run @OTPodcastClub.

With recent growths in the production and availability of podcasts relevant to occupational therapy across health and social care settings, podcasts are a valuable resource to support students’ and practitioners’ learning and CPD.  Podcasts provide a flexible, accessible way for learning to take place (Nielsen et al, 2018).  Research suggest that podcasts support active, social, and creative aspects of learning and strengthen reflection (Palenque, 2015) with sound as a powerful way to absorb information (Plomp, 2021). 

Yet many individuals across the Occupational Therapy community are either not aware or do not regularly engage with podcasts in this way to support their learning and CPD.  For those who do use podcasts this is often done in an individual context with limited opportunity to discuss their learning or consider its application to their practice with other Occupational Therapists.

OT podcast club was started in June 2020 with the aim of encouraging regular listening to podcasts on relevant topics and to create an opportunity to discuss the content with others.  Connecting through word of mouth and twitter (@OTPodcastClub) this group of friendly and enthusiastic OTs meet online every three weeks to review and discuss a chosen podcast.  Following the meeting an edited version of this discussion is subsequently released as a podcast.  Over the past year the group has met 17 times, discussing 16 podcasts across a wide range of topics.  Topics have included online technology use within OT, imposter syndrome, attachment styles, gender identity, race, occupational balance, the darkside of occupation, sex and intimacy within OT and more.  To see full details of podcasts the group has listened to, recommended and the wide range of podcasts available please visit and contribute to this spreadsheet. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mUTjQEraP5PhS3HbN_QUOg8MFl9rtwIAbYOdPj2USGw/edit#gid=0 

To listen to highlights of OT podcast club discussions, find our podcast on most podcast platforms, or access it here.


Q’s :

  1. Do you listen to podcasts for leisure or professional reasons? Have you ever considered listening to a podcast for your professional learning or ongoing CPD?
  2. Do you have any recommendations of podcasts that you thought were useful and if so, what topics do they cover?  If not, what would like to see a podcast covering?
  3. How do podcasts fit into your life? Where, when and how do you listen and does this affect what you gain from them?
  4. How do you/could you apply your learning from podcast listening?  Do you have any examples of something you have learnt and applied from a podcast?
  5. What would help you to make more use of podcasts to support your CPD?


Nielsen, S.N., Andersen, R.H. and Dau, S., 2018, October. Podcast as a learning media in higher education. In European Conference on E-learning (pp. 424-430). Academic Conferences International Limited.

Palenque, S. M., 2015. THE POWER OF PODCASTING: PERSPECTIVES ON PEDAGOGY. Journal of Instructional Research, pp. 4-7 .

Plomp, C. (2021) Podcasts, an essential part of our educational approach?  Available at: https://media-and-learning.eu/type/featured-articles/podcasts-an-essential-part-of-our-educational-approach/  (Accessed 27th May 2021)

Post Chat

The Numbers

1.111M Impressions
436 Tweets
81 Participants
7 Avg Tweets/Hour
5 Avg Tweets/Participant