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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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I is for Individual

Individualisation of the information and new insights gained during Lifestyle Redesign® programmes enables positive changes to be made in people’s lives. Some programmes are delivered individually, such as the pressure ulcer prevention studies I learned about during my study visit, others are delivered as group sessions, such as the weight management programme I followed. All are based on an overall pre-prepared programme

The skill of the therapist enables the content to be individualised in either setting. The methods used include didactic presentation of information e.g. about occupational self analysis, peer exchange (in an individual session this might take the form of discussion), direct experience or doing something- perhaps the short term goal for that week, and lastly personal exploration or reflection about the experience and it’s relevance to one’s self.

The therapists were skilled in guiding individuals through a process that incorporated all these factors, but still allowed individuals to follow the process in a way that was relevant to them. For example, in the weight management group, individuals set a short term goal each week, these were very varied, from becoming involved in the family’s grocery shopping, to walking 5000 steps each day using a pedometer, they were relevant to the overall goal and most importantly were relevant to the individual’s daily routine at that point in time. In the pressure ulcer prevention study, the programme was delivered individually and although the therapists aimed to deliver the prepared programme, there had to be a great del of flexibility in this due to the changing and often challenging circumstances of clients lives.

Where occupational therapists are not providing an actual pre-prepared programme, it is still possible to use many of the methods used in explicit Lifestyle Redesign® programmes for the benefit of clients, this might include using a process of occupational self analysis, or being open to including and using a more ‘narrative’ approach. Once the underlying concepts are understood, they can be brought into many situations and interventions.

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