#OTalk Tuesday 25 February 2020 with @RCOT_NP Specialist Section Neurological Practice – Stroke Forum Vision and Stroke – the contributions of orthoptists and occupational therapists

This week @RCOT_NP are hosting this is what they had to say
Two-thirds of individuals experience changes in their vision after a stroke. This can be due to reduced central vision, a defect in the control of ocular muscles, visual field loss and changes in the way that the brain processes visual information (visual perception). For most people, vision is essential for occupations and occupational therapists often become involved when changes to vision affect performance and independence. Assessments of visual perception have long been considered by occupational therapists to be their domain, however, without specialist knowledge of vision, there is a risk of inaccurate conclusions being drawn from assessment findings.
Orthoptists are allied health professionals who are experts in how the eyes move and work together. They are specialists in assessing vision and have an expert understanding of how neurological deficits affect how people see (British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) website – https://www.orthoptics.org.uk/about-us/). Orthoptists work with adults and children with a wide range of conditions which affect vision but they are particularly valued in stroke assessment and rehabilitation as their contribution can inform the person with stroke, the family and the multidisciplinary team, on how to manage vision to optimise the benefit of rehabilitation.
We are delighted that our orthoptist colleagues representing BIOS are joining us for this tweetchat. We will be using the usual format with introductions followed by four questions.  Each question is usually tweeted at 15 minute intervals but for this tweetchat, we will be allowing more time for questions one and four. The questions are:
1. How can vision be affected after stroke?
2. What is the role of the orthoptist with people following a stroke?
3. What is the role of the occupational therapist when a stroke has affected a person’s vision?
4. What intervention and management strategies are provided by orthoptists and occupational therapists for people whose vision has been affected by stroke?
We look forward to interacting with your tweets and to welcoming orthoptists to this OTalk session.


Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript February 25th 2020

The Numbers

1.487M Impressions
518 Tweets
68 Participants
22 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

Welcome to our new Intern Ruth #OTalk

Hi there, I’m Ruth and I’m thrilled to be the new intern for #OTalk.  I work part time for the University of Derby teaching on their Occupational Therapy programmes.   Prior to this role I worked for 19 years in the NHS in mental health care across in-patient, day hospital and community settings, including a period of 13 years within an Early Intervention in Psychosis team.
I am enthusiastic and passionate about many aspects of occupational therapy but have particular interests in mental health, psychosis, homelessness, occupational therapy education, practice education/ placements and emerging roles for occupational therapy.   When I am not working I volunteer at my local foodbank most weeks, and at a temporary homeless night shelter over the winter months.  I am a keen lover of the value of occupations and try to find time each week to do some of my favourite occupations such as nature walks, running, baking or crochet.
As I have witnessed for myself the valued role of #OTalk discussions in sharing learning and promoting the role and value of occupational therapy I am really excited to be joining the team to further develop my digital skills, to contribute to the maintenance and growth of #OTalk for the future and to have a new expanded network of lovely OT’s to connect with.

#OTalk 18th Feb 2020 – Homelessness

This week Ruth Hawley @Ruth_Hawley and Beck Skelton @WintRebecca will be hosting here is what they had to say.

Homelessness is a growing issue within the UK and other countries.  The issue of homelessness is wider than being roofless and rough sleeping and includes those who don’t have the right to stay where they are, sofa-surfing or in temporary accommodation, and can be those with insecure or inadequate housing for their needs (Shelter, 2019).

The experience of being homeless impacts on occupational performance, participation and identity (Chard et al, 2009; Cunningham & Slade, 2019; Williams & Stickley, 2011) and those who experience homelessness can have complex health and social care needs and be at risk of occupational deprivation and injustice (RCOT, 2019).  

Occupational therapy, therefore, has much to offer for working with those who experience homelessness.  Indeed, homelessness has been the topic of the recently produced RCOT evidence spotlight which outlines some key reading and evidence available (RCOT, 2019).  A networking day in October 2019 at RCOT on Occupational Therapy and Homelessness saw a group of experienced and enthusiastic Occupational Therapists come together to discuss this topic, learn more about it and consider how to advance practice in this area.  As was evident on the day, occupational therapists can work with people with homelessness in many different contexts across physical health care, mental health care, in housing adaptations and social care settings as well as third sector or charity settings.  

Beck Skelton, an Occupational Therapist in Leeds has been working for a third sector organisation funded by Leeds CCG for 2 years. During 2018-19 over 160 people accessed the Occupational Therapy service. The work is varied as people present with a range of functional difficulties as a result of physical, psychological and social conditions. The role is temporarily funded as with many diverse roles. 

As identified on the networking day, to support occupational therapy in this area it would be helpful to have greater development of the OT role in working with people who are homeless, more research evidence and policy guidelines and to establish an effective forum for clinical support and sharing of good practice across the UK. 

In order to support these aims, Beck Skelton (Occupational Therapist working at homeless charity in Leeds) and Ruth Hawley (Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Derby University) would like to host this OTalk considering the following questions: 

Q1. Do you have any experiences of working with people who are homeless?

Q2. What do you think are the occupational needs of people who are homeless?

Q3. What do you think the occupational therapy role is when working with people who are homeless?

Q4. What do you think would be good next steps to support the development of this emerging area for occupational therapy? And how could these be implemented?


Boland, L. and Cunningham, M., 2019. Homelessness: Critical reflections and observations from an occupational perspective. Journal of Occupational Science, 26(2), pp.308-315.

Chard, G., Faulkner, T. and Chugg, A., 2009. Exploring occupation and its meaning among homeless men. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(3), pp.116-124.

Cunningham, M.J. and Slade, A., 2019. Exploring the lived experience of homelessness from an occupational perspective. Scandinavian journal of occupational therapy, 26(1), pp.19-32.

Shelter (2019) What is homelessness? Available at: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/homelessness/rules/what_is_homelessness   [Accessed 31 October 2019] 

RCOT (2019), RCOT Evidence Spotlight: Homelessness. London: RCOT

Williams, S. and Stickley, T., 2011. Stories from the streets: people’s experiences of homelessness. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 18(5), pp.432-439.

Post Chat Updates:

Online transcript from HealthCare# Project.

PDF of transcript #OTalk 18th February 2020 Transcript

The Numbers

1.924M Impressions
551 Tweets
77 Participants

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk – 11th February 2019 Direct Payments & Occupational Therapy.

This week Sherlyn Graham @sherlynmelody will lead the chat this is what she had to say

Direct Payments were set up with the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act (1996) and came into force on 1stApril 1997Direct payments were initially available only topeople 18 to 65 years with physical and sensory impairments, learning difficulties and mental health problems and who had been assessed as needing community care services. The Act was amended in 2000 to incorporate older disabled people and later in 2001 it was extended to 16- and 17-year-olds, parents of disabled children and carers.

The Act gave local authorities the power to make direct cashpayments to individuals.

A direct payment is a cash payment paid by a social services department to a service user to purchase services that meet their agreed social care needsDirect payments are the governments preferred mechanism for personalised care and supportThey were intended to empower service users giving them independence, choice and control by enabling them to commission their own care and support in order to meet their eligible needs.

For individuals, a direct payment can mean the difference between having to live in an institutional setting and having the assistance they want to be able to live in their own home.(Alzheimer’s society 2007)

To ensure the money is used for the right things, the direct payment is to be managed by the service user; where the service user is unable to do this for themselves they can be supported by a family memberfriend or an external advocacy organisation. 

As the money given to the service user is given in lieu of the local authority providing the care, the money remains public money. Therefore the use of the money is subject to scrutiny – audit. (TLAP 2019)

Direct Payments can be used to buy all or some of the support the service user needs to meet their needs howevereach persons needs are different and will vary from one case to the next. The money can be used to directly employ a personal assistant or hire care workers from a private domiciliary care agency. As an alternative to care services, the service usermay be able to use his or her Direct Payments to fund other local services that enable their independence within their own home and community, such as attending a day centre,accessing taxi cabs and meals on wheels.

According to the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (2019) Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.

So as an occupational therapist how involved are you in using direct payments as a means of empowering people to engage in meaningful activities?


  1. What setting are you in and have you given a direct payment to any of your service users/carers?
  2. In general, what are your services users/carers using the direct payments for?
  3.  Have you used any external organisations to support with the utilisation of direct payments? And what support did they provide?
  4. What, if any, have you found to be the disadvantages of a direct payment?
  5. What have you found to be the advantages of a direct payment?
  6.  What have you found to be the main barriers and or facilitators of using direct payments.
  7. Do you find direct payment are more suited to a certain client group?


Legislation.gov.uk – Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996

Direct payments: answering frequently asked question – social care institute for excellence (2005)

Direct payments – information and guidance booklet, direct payments from Hertfordshire council for adult social care.

Direct Payments – Alzheimer’s society information sheet (2007)

Think Local Act Personal – Money management (2019)

The Royal college of Occupational Therapist – What is occupational therapy? (2019)

Post Chat Updates:

Online Transcript from HealthCare# Project 

PDF of Transcript: #OTalk 11 Feb 2020

The Numbers

1.048M Impressions
205 Tweets
37 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Today For #FebYOUary I……………………..? #OTalk #OccupationalTherapy

Yesterday  was my day off. I’ve had an extremely busy few weeks and for the first day in 2020 I was taking a break . ‘Well earned’, I thought when I sat down with a coffee watching Loraine on ITV, and there she was chatting to Katie Piper about the #FebYouary challenge. I hadn’t heard of this before but I liked the idea of a month to highlight self care. I’m always telling people “you can’t give from an empty cup” but in reality I think my cups overdrawn and I need to set up a repayment plan! I’m a “ spoonie” which basically means I have a chronic health issue and I need to balance my life carefully to ensure I have enough energy to do what needs doing, and prevent running on empty. I am also an occupational therapist who doesn’t always practice what she preaches, although I do try.

listening to Katie and Lorraine chat about finding time for you, and their participants sharing how they plan to engage with this, made me think about occupational therapy and how what we do influences our health and well-being. I hear lots of stories about health professionals neglecting their own health and well-being, stressed, overworked, feeling responsible, feeling like you have to be indestructible and hold it together for everyone else – this made me wonder what everyone else Is doing to manage their self care? I’m going to take the opportunity to engage in the #FebYouary challenge to re focus on some of my own needs and life balance. I shall tweet about this from my twitter account @GillyGorry and I would like to see other occupational therapists join in.

if you would like to join the challenge please use the hashtags #febYouary #Otalk #occupationaltherapy I will gather up the tweets at the end of the month and add to the blog.




OTalk Research Chat 4th February 2020 – Conference Posters.

This week OTalk’s own Carolina Cordero @Colourful_OT will be hosting here is what she had to say.  

Research posters are a popular way of presenting evidence, allowing us to summarise findings in a way that invites people to respond to the research and to ask questions. As live tweeting of conferences becomes more popular, a particularly eye-catching or memorable poster also makes it more likely that the results of a study will be widely shared through people posting photos to social media (for example this one: witter.com/felly500/status/1064840703010893826t), giving OT researchers the chance to both communicate important findings and to promote occupational therapy as a profession.

With this in mind, I wanted tonight’s research chat to be a space for thinking about what makes a good poster in occupational therapy and sharing practical strategies to make posters that present our research in the best possible way.

Tonight’s questions are:

  1. Have you ever presented a poster at a conference? How did it go?
  2. What software do you use/would you use to make research posters? (e.g. Powerpoint, Publisher, Canva)
  3. What do you see as the difference between a good and bad research poster?
  4. Is poster design something that was covered in your education as an OT? Should it have been?
  5. Have you ever seen an OT conference poster that stood out to you as innovative or unique? What was it?

Post chat update

Online transcript from HealthCare#Project 

PDF of Transcript #OTalk 4th Feb 2020

The Numbers

682.563K Impressions
201 Tweets
42 Participant

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk 28th Jan 2020 – Using the Professional Standards and the Career Development Framework to guide and support careers.

This week RCOT’s very own Stephanie Tempest @setG75 and Julia Roberts @RCOT_JuliaR will be hosting check out what they had to say here.

RCOT’s Julia Roberts and Stephanie Tempest are leading the work to update two key RCOT resources: The Professional Standards for Occupational Therapy Practice, Conduct and Ethics alongside the Career Development Framework: guiding principles for occupational therapy.

For the first time the new Professional Standards have been combined with the Code of Ethics so we will have one resource instead of two. In the new Professional Standards, we want to publish a resource that acts as an essential ‘go to’ reference point to support day-to-day decision making – not a document that you only refer to when there is a serious incident or complaint. 

In the uplift of the Career Development Framework, we want to make sure the new resource gives our profession the language to showcase to others the unique knowledge and skills that we bring to all career levels.  And to ensure it continues to help us to plan our own learning, development and career opportunities.  

We are working on reviewing these resources together to make sure they align and harmonise. But they are different. Where the Professional Standards underpin the work that you do, the Framework supports you to identify the next steps for your learning and careers. They will only be effective if people feel they are useful and choose to use them, so we would like to discuss the following:

  1. In what ways do you use or could you use the current versions i.e. the Professional Standards, the Code of Conduct and Ethics?
  2. In what ways do you use or could you use the current version of the Career Development Framework?
  3. We know not everyone uses the resources – why do you think that is?
  4. What supporting resources could we develop for the new publications to help people use them across all settings, sectors and at every career level?
  5. The consultation for these resources is open until Friday 7th February at the following link and we’d really value hearing from you: https://www.rcot.co.uk/news/contribute-two-key-rcot-practice-resources

We look forward to you joining us on the 28th Jan 2020 8-9pm #OTalk

Stephanie @setG75 and Julia @RCOT_JuliaR

Post Chat Update

Online Transcript from HealthCare#Project

PDF of transcript #OTalk 28 Jan 2020

The Numbers

1.507M Impressions
298 Tweets
35 Participants

#OTalk Participants