Nutrition seemed to come into everything during my recent study visit to the University of Southern California.
As a UK based Occupational Therapist (OT), this was unexpected. I found the Lifestyle Redesign® approach being used in areas of work such as weight management where, of course the emphasis was explicit. In other areas of work, such as the group I spent a session with who had had a stroke and were working on lifestyle issues to help prevent another, it formed an important aspect of the intervention. I attended the first 8 weeks of the Masters programme course on Lifestyle Redesign® where learning about nutrition, and about the factors that drive ‘conditioned hypereating” (David Kessler 2009- see the books tab at the top of this page).
Initially I wondered if it would be more appropriate for a dietician to be involved, but I came to understand that using this approach takes an occupational view of the issue and individuals were enabled to develop strategies that allow them to develop new routines and habits in their daily lives that are health promoting and sustainable, and that is the definition of Lifestyle Redesign®.
It might be too big a step for OTs to work in exactly that model in the UK, but there is certainly scope to reflect on whether and how we should be bringing more focus onto nutrition for many of our clients. I think about some of the older people I work with who are reliant on visits from carers to provide all their meals. Time constraints mean that they are often eating ready microwave meals daily and sometimes at almost every meal. Poor nutrition has an impact on function and on quality of life. So is it an issue for OTs to address? I’d love to know what people think...