This blog began as a journal of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Award visit to the USA to study how Lifestyle Redesign could be used in Occupational Therapy to improve the hospital/home interface for older people. It has continued to record developments and inspiration gained from that experience since returning from Los Angeles early in 2012.

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Friday, 13 January 2012

Lifestyle Redesign Weight Management Group

My first achievement today was managing to get from the Health Sciences Campus (HSC) to the University Park Campus (UPC) on the shuttle bus!
I joined Occupational Therapist Chantelle Rice for the first meeting of a weight management group. To a UK OT this seems an unusual area of work for an OT, but in the context of Lifestyle Redesign with the emphasis on occupation and acquiring habits that promote health & well being, it makes sense. There are 12 people in the group, mostly, but not all women and ages from 20s to 60s. Most people are employees at USC so their health insurance covers them to attend, although they still have to make a payment. The group will run for 16 weeks.
Chantelle introduced the programme and the philosophy of Occupational Therapy, emphasising the use of occupation to enable change. Everyone introduced themselves and explained their reasons for coming along, many wanted to be more active, especially with their kids. Several have been directed to come as part of the preparation for gastric banding. The course hand out was explained and everyone got weighed (privately) and received a slip with their body composition analysis (BMI, Fat % etc) and the meanings of the figures was explained. Everyone though about and most shared their long term goals for attending the group. The OT set the short term goals for this week, to complete a food diary and to read over the course material.
The group had a good rapport from the start and the session was relaxed with lots of laughter. I will be able to stay with the group until they reach the half way stage and look forward to seeing the Lifestyle Redesign process in action. I am also curious to know what my dietician colleagues at home will think of it.

The day ended with the Faculty Practice Open House. A social cum marketing event that they hold annually. There was food, poster displays, lots of people who either refer clients, work in the faculty, students or clients themselves. A chance to meet and chat to more people and to feel that I already know quite a lot of people after almost a week.


  1. Interesting to read this and yes I wonder what a dietician would think of OTs doing this, is there a reason they don't have a one doing it??

  2. HI Anne, Thanks for your comment.
    Yes it is certainly a different area of work to what would be expected in the UK. I wonder if you are a UK based OT?
    I asked about Dietetic input and it seems that there is a dietician available who the OT would refer to if felt to be necessary. I think that the reason it is an OT programme is that, although some information about diet, food choices etc is given to help clients to make informed choices, the emphasis of the group is to allow clients to make occupational choices and changes in their lives that are realistic for their lifestyle and will be sustainable in the future- and of course OTs have those skills.
    I will see if I can get some comments from dietician colleagues in the UK as I know that there have sometimes been concerns about non-dieticians being involved in weight management if it is at the level where interventions such as gastric banding are being considered. Maybe OTs have something to offer in a collaborative approach?
    Other programmes are running looking at things like Smoking Cessation, Diabetes Management, 'coaching' for college students etc. There is a clear preventative and long term condition management role.

    1. Yes I am in the UK I work in Intermediate Care. I can see how if you look at it in the broader sense and not just in terms of the type/quantity of food you eat, then OTs fit the bill.