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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Saturday, 22 June 2013

OT? So What?

During the week I attended the College of Occupational Therapists Conference in Glasgow. The College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section- Older People (COTSS-OP) conference ran simultaneously. It was really inspiring to hear many of the main keynote speakers, such as professor Michael Iwama, talking about preventative work and public health being important future arenas for OTs. The vital role OTs play in acute and emergency care settings was very much acknowledged, but the importance of linking well with community based services was very much at the forefront of the discussions.

I presented a facilitated poster discussion about my study visit to the University of Southern California. I outlined the background to the visit and then went on to the following:
'...Current hospital discharge practice can be frustrating for both OTs and older people themselves. It can be reductionist, grounded in a medical model and emphasise ‘safety’ at the expense of occupational engagement and enablement of valued daily activities. A paradigm shift on the part of policy makers, service managers and individual OTs is needed to change this. An understanding of the principles of the LRD model can provide a way forward.

I want to leave you with some points to ponder based on the opening plenary speech given by Professor Iwama and Jacqui Lunday Johnstone’s Keynote address to the COTSS-Older People’s conference. Professor Iwama challenged us to re-examine how and where we work and to look at the preventative and public health arenas as the future of Occupational Therapy. He asked us to consider the relevance of our services to the lives of the people and communities we serve. Jacqui Lunday Johnstone emphasised the need to demonstrate outcomes or the ‘added value’ that occupational therapists provide- what she termed the ‘So What?’. Both affirmed that the unique skills of OTs, if fully utilised can have real impact on the hospital to home interface. Using an approach inspired by Lifestyle Redesign® could help to make this a reality.

Imagine the older people who use your service being asked two questions:
  1. Was the OT service you received relevant to your life?
  2. If you received a service, So What? What was the added value it brought?

If the answers you think you would get are not what you would wish them to be, then it is time to begin looking at the reasons and to think about whether using aspects of Lifestyle Redesign® could be a way to change the answers in future.'