As an Occupational Therapist (OT) working with older people in hospital, I am aware of the challenge of the ageing population.
Lifestyle Redesign, an innovative approach developed in the USA, has produced convincing evidence that occupational therapy can provide sustained, cost effective improvements in the health and wellbeing of older people. I had read about it and heard Professor Clark speak at the the College of Occupational Therapists conference last year. I applied for a WCMT award (see first post) to allow me to travel to the US to study the approach in detail and was very fortunate to be successful
I have been in contact with the research team at University of Southern California (USC); this has helped guide my preparatory reading. I will formulate specific queries that will allow me to achieve the aims of my project. We will discuss and agree a programme that will give me the opportunity for a range of experiences. I expect these to include ‘hands on’ within the projects, discussion with Prof. Clark, the research team, the Occupational Therapists delivering the programme and the clients themselves.
I envisage that main beneficiaries of my experience will be:
• Older people who receive effective services that put them in control of their own lives.
• Occupational therapy staff who gain greater job satisfaction from using their unique skills more effectively.
• My employer through more effective, sustainable results and so better value for money from the OT service.
• Occupational Therapists working with older people nationally through sharing of my learning via the Specialist Section for Older People.
• Myself through renewed commitment and enthusiasm and a greater understanding of the potential that I and my profession have to improve the lives of older people.