Urgent Care: The Value of Occupational Therapy

otKarin Orman is Professional Practice Manager at the College of Occupational Therapists

The College of Occupational Therapists published a report on the value of occupational therapy across urgent care at the start of Occupational Therapy Week in November. The report argues that urgent care is a term that encompasses a wide range of services and settings from primary care to care homes. Traditionally occupational therapists have been commissioned to work in secondary services but increasingly the profession is developing roles within primary care and with non-statutory providers such as housing associations offering timely, short term interventions that reduce or delay the need for more complex support and packages of care.

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What I do is who I am – the importance of activity in care homes

Lorraine Bridges is the Senior Communications Manager at the College of Occupational Therapists. She tweets at @L_BridgesLivingWellThroughAcitivityinCareHomesToolkit

Occupational therapists help people to carry out essential occupations – the activities that make up our daily lives – from washing and dressing, the weekly shop, visiting friends and all the things we enjoy in life.  For older people occupations are vital for health, social inclusion, and mental wellbeing, but become more difficult due to increasing frailty. Geriatricians will be all too familiar with the serious risks of immobility.

The College of Occupational Therapists, like the British Geriatrics Society, firmly believes in equal access to health and social care and developed the Living Well Through Activity in Care Homes Toolkit to ensure that people living in care homes have the same access to occupational therapy as those living in their own home.  The resource is part of the College’s wider aim to champion dignity, choice, respect and control for older people, recognising occupational therapists’ unique skills in enabling occupation and understanding how dementia, co-morbidities, and other factors such as poor vision, impact on activity participation. Continue reading

Care homes for older people and access to outdoor mobility and spaces

Amanda King is an Occupational Therapist currently working in Nottingham, UK and tweeting at @Alk768.  She has used a recent Masters in Research Methods to investigate rehabilitation in the context of outdoor mobility for care home residents. Here she describes her research journey to date.shutterstock_958782

I am an NHS Occupational Therapist working in a multi-disciplinary service which provides physical rehabilitation to promote the functional recovery, well-being and independence of older people living in the community. One of the reasons I chose to work with older people, once qualified, was due to spending time in care homes as an undergraduate student. I developed a project, Care Homes Activities Team (CHAT), which involved persuading twenty six occupational therapy students to volunteer to design and deliver a range of activities to the residents of six different care homes, over a period of three months. This experience allowed us to develop our activity provision skills and promote occupational therapy in care homes. It also provided valuable additional resources to the care homes whose staff and residents were very appreciative of the time and energy given by the students.   Continue reading

There’s an order to things: Item response theory as a way to make sense of functional decline in dementia

Sarah McGrory is a PhD Student at the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. She Tweets at @ alzscotdrcfunctional decline

Are some activities harder than others for people with dementia? In our research, recently reported in Age and Ageing, we looked at how people with dementia differed in their day to day activities. 202 people with mostly mild to moderate dementia in Scotland were asked about their activities

Activities (using the telephone, shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, travelling, taking medications, handling finances) can be measured using a questionnaire called the Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale. Usually scores on the individual tasks are added together to give a total score ranging from 0 to 8. This number can hide a lot of information about a patient’s functional ability. It assumes every functional activity is equally difficult, which is rarely the case. For example, being able to manage your finances is likely to be harder for most people than being able to eat. Continue reading