OTalk

#OTalk – 30th November 2021 – Creating a Sensory Friendly Environment

This weeks chat will be hosted by Rebecca Cusworth @RebeccaCus.

Sensory integration is when our body and brain organises sensations which tell us about ourself and the environment (ASI Wise 2021). The senses including touch, vision, hearing, smell, taste, vestibular, proprioception, and introception (ASI Wise 2021). We receive sensory input from our sensory receptors, we process the sensory information, and then we generate a response to this (Miller 2006). An example of this process might be:

James is swinging on a swing. 
He is enjoying the sensation of moving through the air, the weightlessness at the top of the swing, and the heaviness when he is closest to the ground. He can hear the wind whistling in his ears and can see the ground moving along beneath him. While he swings, James holds onto the chains which he can smell are metal. James can tell he is becoming hungry so he waits until the next upward swing before jumping through the air. 

As all of us are sensory beings, we all have preferences for what we enjoy and dislike. For example, another person may feel motion-sick or afraid when swinging on a swing. When we are in our own homes, we might choose to dim the lights, to light scented candles, surround ourselves with comfy blankets, and eat food which makes us feel good (e.g., chocolate). 

When we are unwell, stressed, or in different environments (such as hospital, a friend’s house, workplace), we are less inclined to use our preferences to make ourselves feel better. 

This #OTalk chat aims to initiate the conversation about how we can create a sensory-friendly environment for ourselves and our patients. As occupational therapists, we are well placed to promote improvements in our services. 

Questions:

1. What is your understanding of sensory friendly environments?

2. What needs to change in your workplace to make it more sensory friendly for patients?

3. What needs to change to make your environment more sensory friendly for staff?

4. What do you feel would be challenging about putting this in place?

5. What support do you feel would be beneficial from RCOT or your Trust?

POST CHAT

Host:  Rebecca Cusworth @RebeccaCus.

Support on OTalk Account: Rachel @OT_Rach

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.
OTalk

#OTalk – 23rd November 2021 – Occupational Therapy and Intermediate Care.

This weeks chat will be hosted by  Paul Wilkinson @Paulwilkinson94 who is a rotational occupational therapist currently working for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

It is evident that hospitals across the country are experiencing heightened demands and challenges during these unprecedented times. Whilst the National Health Service across the United Kingdom continues to strive to meet individual patient needs, it also continues to do battle and cope with the pressures from COVID-19, staff shortages, and increased hospital admissions. Consequently, the above factors mean hospital beds are in more of a demand than arguably ever before. 

Nationally it is recognised that the longer individuals remain in hospital the greater the risk of deconditioning and being diagnosed with hospital acquired infections can occur particular among the elderly and vulnerable. As occupational therapists we recognise that individuals thrive and recover often more effectively within their own environments. However, during a time of uncertainty it could be argued we are forced to consider discharge planning from the acute settings earlier than ever before, meaning often individuals are medically optimised but not fully from a therapy perspective. 

It seems to make hospital beds more accessible intermediate care settings and wider community settings are being utilised to bridge the clinical pathway for older individuals transitioning from the hospital to home more than ever before. According to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2018) intermediate care services provide support for a short time to help individuals recover and increase independence. The service is often provided by a combination of health and social care professionals including occupational therapists. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (2016) suggest occupational therapists working within intermediate care settings can help ensure smooth transition into the community.  

In April this year I was fortunate enough to rotate into an intermediate care setting based in the Northeast of England. Several months later working as an occupational therapist within this setting it became clear to myself through interaction with service users, relatives, and wider professionals the understanding of the role and purpose of an intermediate care setting and how occupational therapy fits into this setting was blurred and limited. This led me to further want to extend my understanding and gain insight amongst the occupational therapy community through #OTalk with the following questions:

  1. How would you best describe the purpose of an intermediate care setting? 
  2. Why do you think the purpose and understanding of intermediate care if often misunderstood? 
  3. What challenges do you think present to an occupational therapist working within an intermediate care setting? 
  4. What do you think are the benefits of an occupational therapist working within an intermediate care setting? 
  5. How do you think the role and purpose of an intermate care setting could be made clearer?  

POST CHAT

Host:  Paul Wilkinson @Paulwilkinson94

Support on OTalk Account: @kirstieot

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.
OTalk

#OTalk – 9th Nov 2021 – Are you being the OT you dreamed you’d be? 

This weeks chat will be hosted by Natasha Bruce-Jones, @NatashaBJo Clinical Director, Think Therapy 1st

As the anniversary of my second decade as a qualified OT draws to a close I’m lead to reflect on my ‘why’. Why did I choose OT? What did I envisage my job to look and feel like every day? I can easily recall: the diversity of approaches and the ability to ‘do with’ rather than ‘do for’. Whilst enjoying delivering therapy with arts, crafts and leisure I was often amazed that this was actually classed as work at all! But having used my scholarly dissertation to confirm that even two decades ago there was a low uptake in these activities as a therapy method, I’m pulled again to reflect on how things have changed in OT practises today under the ever-growing pressures of statutory authorities, and restrictions of red tape and budget tightening. 

I’ve worked in emergency, acute, community, education, and most recently in private practise. I have felt pressured to meet targets more than meet people’s expectations; to meet deadlines more than meet people’s real goals; to save money more than provide ‘quality of life’ focused treatment. I have watched OT emerge to address the needs of the setting rather than the needs of the client, have felt pressure to become a Consultant OT and mould myself into the medical model to be recognised, and ultimately decided to leave roles for fear of not being allowed to actually practise OT in my OT role. I was fortunate enough to find the freedom of private practise as my saviour, but friends and colleagues have felt so dismayed at the limits in their roles that they have tragically left the profession altogether! 

When I joined private practice, my fire was reignited. I was reminded how amazing, inspiring, creative and interactive OT can be, and how boundaried, restricted and distracted from my ‘change the world’ student vision statutory roles had forced me to become. Now my therapy days consist of kite flying, metal detecting, velodrome cycling, mountaineering, open water swimming, boxing, knitting, refurbishing house boats, learning Spanish – the list goes on, and I love it. The biggest win however will always be hearing the unreserved thanks and surprise from clients at the magnitude of effect true OT can have on their entire lives. 

This poses me to ask the rest of the OT community about your experiences and draw you to think about what your role potential could be. 

  • What is it about your OT role that prevents you realising your full OT potential? 
  • How can OTs truly provide client led services if working within the ‘top down’ management systems of local authorities and NHS?  
  • How can OTs refuse to allow role or service changes that reduce their scope and impact? 
  • Is OTs use of terms like ‘prescibing’ and ‘consultant’  a sign of OTs feeling a need for medical recognition and contributing to an already blurry public understanding ? 
  • What is the most fun you’ve had delivering your OT in the last year? 

POST CHAT

Host:  This weeks chat will be hosted by Natasha Bruce-Jones, @NatashaBJo Clinical Director, Think Therapy 1st

Support on OTalk Account: @colourfulot

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.

CPD, Equality, Exploring the Role of Occupational Therapy, OTalk

#OTalk OT Week Special Twitter Chat #OTsForEquity WEDNESDAY 3rd November 2021 8pm – Hosted by @theRCOT

As part of #OTalk’s 10th Birthday celebrations we are supporting the Royal College of Occupational Therapists during #OTWeek. The theme of this year’s OT Week is #OTsForEquity.

Tonight’s Twitter chat is hosted by Karin Orman, RCOT Assistant Director – Professional Practice and Genevieve Smyth, Professional Advisor RCOT. The chat will shine a light on the role occupational therapists can and do play in achieving health equity and is just one of many activities taking place across OT Week to address this important topic. 

Health equity is one of RCOT’s priorities for the coming year and if we are to meet the needs of those we support, we need to build on existing innovation and best practice. 

 #OTalk in Occupational Therapy Week offers the opportunity to collectively put our thinking hats on to explore what we mean by health equity and share ideas for further actions. This conversation and our ideas platform will inform RCOT’s action plan to achieve health equity. 

As occupational therapists you already do a lot towards creating health equity, but is there more you could do? Is there best practice that you’d like to share with others? Do you have an idea that would overcome some of blocks that you and others face within your team or organisation to achieving health equity amongst your service users?  

There is strength in numbers! Do you have an idea that would use the power of our community and have an impact on health equity? If you do, please share it with us. 

We’re ready to take action to strive for health equity across the UK. This is the start of our campaign, we’re already putting pressure on government, healthcare leaders and commissioners to act.  But we want to hear your ideas on what we could be doing that will make the greatest impact. We know we can’t do this alone. We’re calling on the government to provide a long-term strategy. We’d like to hear from you what we specifically we should be asking for? What resources do you need? What areas need funding so that you can improve and expand health care provision across all areas of society. 

This is what we would like you to consider and discuss.

Questions

  1. What does health equity mean to you and those who use your services?
  1. What as occupational therapists can we do as individuals, within our teams and organisations to create health equity?
  1. What as a profession can we do collectively to create health equity?
  1. How would you like to RCOT lead on the healthy equity agenda? What would you like to see RCOT do as a professional body to support members create health equity and to influence external agendas?
  1. What should we be asking governments to do to create health equity? What should governments do that that will help us as occupational therapists to do more to create health equity? 

Join #OTalk and #OTsForEquity on Wednesday night at 8.00pm (UK) to share your views and ideas.

POST CHAT

Host:   Karin Orman, RCOT Assistant Director – Professional Practice @RCOT__Karin Genevieve Smyth, Professional Advisor RCOT @RCOT_Gen @theRCOT

Support on OTalk Account:  @preston_jenny

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.
OTalk

#OTalk Research 2nd November 2021

This week our host is Sherri Kapadia  @ot_withsherri_

As part of our OT Week activities, Sherri will host this week’s chat on

The role of research in supporting occupational therapists to achieve health equity

Eliminating health inequalities are a priority in effective occupational therapy practice. In their simplest form, health inequalities consider the variations in people’s health status, which encompasses life expectancy and disease prevalence (Kings Fund, 2020). The evidence reflects that drivers of such differences in people’s health stem from social factors including education, income, gender and ethnicity (World Health Organisation, 2018). Equally, it is important to acknowledge who health inequalities occur between. Four main factors in which health inequalities are typically analysed are: socioeconomic factors, geographical location, characteristic (including ones protected by the law such as race and disability) and socially excluded groups (Kings Fund, 2020). 

For occupational therapists, tackling health inequalities has no defined pathway. However, we can begin by putting occupation at the centre of the solution. Occupational therapists may consider the impact that driving factors of health inequalities have on individuals’ engagement in occupation.  For example, health management is an occupation outlined in the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF; AOTA, 2020), and within this is communicating with healthcare systems. Occupational therapists may seek to understand the systemic and social barriers to accessing healthcare that different groups may face. Occupational therapists can identify strategies that lessen these barriers and enable these groups to participate in health management activities. 

Alternatively, occupational therapists may consider the impact on participation that unequal health outcomes have on individuals’ engagement in occupation. Here, occupational therapist’s may seek to understand how a disease may influence a person’s participation in a particular occupation. For example, when interventions provided are not centred towards an individual’s needs, they may engage in occupations that temporarily reduce their symptoms but negatively impact their health in the long term. At this stage, occupational therapists may be well placed to help individuals manage their symptoms and find substitute occupations that can positively impact their health and lifestyle. 

Research is a crucial factor in highlighting the role of occupational therapy in tackling health inequalities and ensuring occupational therapy interventions are adaptable and, therefore, equally effective on different individuals. It is well known that occupational therapists work with a diverse range of clients. However, it is not well known if our evidence base reflects the same diversity. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge the role of research in helping occupational therapists to bridge the gaps in health inequalities. 

Furthermore, it is essential to acknowledge that the type of research needed to improve our understanding of health inequalities spans qualitative and quantitative methods. For example, the Richmond Group report, ‘You only had to ask: what people with multiple conditions say about health equity’, stated that statistical analysis between long-term conditions and socioeconomic status was evident. However, less research focused on exploring the lived experience of individuals facing these health inequalities (Richmond Group of Charities; Impact on Urban Health, 2021). This example reflects the need to analyse the impact of health inequalities from both an objective and subjective perspective. 

Additionally, the systemic drivers of health inequalities require those with lived experience to be at the forefront of research efforts. Facilitating co-produced or community-led research may ensure that occupational therapy interventions produce equitable outcomes and are meaningful to different individuals and groups. Further research is required to trial new and old interventions with various groups, understand the occupational needs that are not being acknowledged, and thoroughly examine our role in preventative measures. 

Through meaningful research, occupational therapists can enact significant change and be a part of providing equitable care for everyone. The questions below will hopefully provoke the conversation about conducting research in occupational therapy to support health equity for all. 

Questions

  1. What role do you think research plays in supporting health equity? Do you have examples to share?
  1. What evidence do we need to build upon to create greater health equity? What new evidence should the OT profession generate which highlights and provides solutions to overcoming health inequalities? 
  1. What methodological considerations do we need to address when designing and carrying out research which highlights and provides solutions to achieving health equity?
  1. Ethical research is essential. What ethical considerations might we need to consider when planning to research groups facing health inequalities?
  1. Health equity is an important issue. What are effective ways of disseminating new research in this area to ensure practicing OTs are aware of its findings and able to translate these findings into their practice? 

References

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (4th ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy74(Suppl. 2), Article 7412410010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S2001 


Kings Fund, Williams, E., Buck, D. and Babalola, G. (2020) What are health inequalities? Available at: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/what-are-health-inequalities (Accessed: 26/10/2021)

The Richmond Group of Charities and Impact on Urban Health (2021) You only had to ask
What people with multiple conditions say about health equity A report from the Taskforce on Multiple Conditions. Available at: https://richmondgroupofcharities.org.uk/sites/default/files/youonlyhadtoask_fullreport_july2021_final.pdf?utm_source=The%20King%27s%20Fund%20newsletters%20%28main%20account%29&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12554246_NEWSL_HWB%202021-08-09&dm_i=21A8,7H2X2,6W4S2E,UDUYQ,1 (Accessed: 26/10/2021)

World Health Organisation (2018) ‘Health inequalities and their causes’ 

Post Chat

Host:  This week our host is Sherri Kapadia @ot_withsherri_

Support on OTalk Account: @preston_jenny 

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.