Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Years Greetings

I am having a new year tidy up before life gets busy again. I am not going to say I have a new years resolution to post more as that is most often the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen! So I am going to apply some occupational therapy wisdom (not sure occupational therapy can own it, but we do use it a lot with clients) ‘”start with small steps and you will be surprised at the opportunities and possibilities that unfold”.

Todays small step is to tell you that we are about to do some work upgrading the website everydaymadeeasier.blogspot.com  Please go and look at it and give us your thoughts on what is useful and what could be developed further, or things that you think should be there that aren’t etc. There is a feedback tab on the site.

Happy New Year, may 2013 through your actions be one to remember positively.

Everyday made easier

Hannah and Rachel third year students at Otago Polytechnic have just completed a 3rd year project. If you have read my posting titled ‘Total hip replacements and occupational therapy’ you will know that I was surprised by how little information was on the internet that had an occupational therapy perspective. The website they have created was designed to help address some of these issues.  Website is called: Everydaymadeeasier

designed for people who want to carry on taking part in their daily activities while waiting for surgery, recovering from surgery, living with physical injury, or living with a long-term physical condition.

http://everydaymadeeasier.blogspot.com

so go and check it out, and if you think others would benefit from the information send the link on. They are keen to gain feedback on what you liked about the website site and what you would like to see developed or improved.

Total hip replacements and Occupational Therapy

I have a vested interest in this post. I am about to have a total hip replacement. I decided that it was time to get up to date with the latest does and don’ts and to see what online advice is out there. I was interested to see how well occupational therapy was using the internet to advise those needing surgery. What have I found?

Interesting there is little change in the advice since I trained 30 years ago.

What did I find and what did I expect to find:

  1. I expected to see a more occupation focus to the occupational therapy information. Most information talks only about ADL’s and related equipment. In living with a hip that needs to be replaced there seems to me to be a lot more that could be talked about. It was even difficult to find concepts such as energy conservation and work simplification.  
  2. I expected that there would be presurgery advice. I don’t mean information given out a week or two before surgery and associated with preparing for surgery and the weeks after, but rather advice to assist from the time the possibility of surgery is identified.  Advice that includes priniciples of joint protection on both the affected and unaffected side and that helped you keep in the best shape physically before surgery and helps you keep engaged and participating as things get harder to do (as of yet I haven’t found any info that would cover this).
  3. I found that there is an assumption in the information that if you are having surgery you are in the older age group and  not it seemed doing a lot! e.g. only needing to dress, shower, eat prepared meals for one, sit a lot (in the same chair) and occassionally drive a car!. Yet I know that  there are many very busy active 60 plus’s, and then there are the people like me I meet who are working, paying mortgages, engaging in a wide range of activities, some with young families,  all heading towards a hip replacement.
  4. That occupational therapists would have got together with consumers and worked up some really good information that all occupational therapists could use, after all there is no sense everyone reinventing the wheel. 
  5. That the advice would be consistant. There seems to be differences in some advice and no rational given for why the advice may differ e.g  whether you should sleep on the operated side or the nonoperated side, the precautions associated with internal and external rotation, and moving the operated hip backwards.
  6. Occupational therapy advice seems hooked on equipment, rather than techniques  e.g. what happens after the first week or so when the person get more active e.g what do you do if away from home and needing to go to the toilet and there are no high seats?

Therefore…

If you are heading towards a total hip operation what do you need to know in relation to the tasks and activities you want and need to do? Perhaps then occupational therapists will take up the challenge to design information that helps you.

and occupational therapists what are the best examples of information from occupational therapists already online? and why? and what evidence is there that should we be calling on in the information we put online?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Occupational therapy is just commonsense isn’t it?

NO NO No!!!

I don’t know how many times I have heard an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy student say “its just commonsense” when someone comments on something that has been suggested or recommended by the occupational therapist. After all doesn’t everyone know how to set goals, how to use a problem solving process or know that being well occupied contributes to self worth and self identity?

No !! If it was that easy everyone would just do it. Yes some but not all people do know about theses things but many struggle with how to bring them about . In the case of goal setting knowing how to not only set an achievable goal but to break it down to achievable steps to, work out how to remain focused on the goal, to learn how to plan for and scale any barriers that may be in the way and to celebrate the successes especially when one is coping with change, injury, disbility, illness or changed circumstance is difficult.

It’s definitely not just commonsense rather skilled artistry on the behalf of the therapist in getting alongside the person and making the difficult seem achievable.  Just as being well occupied, engaging in a range of satisfying occupations can require careful consideration of the environment, the person and the occupation/task or activity  by the therapist in order to bring it about successfully enabling the  person to experience meaningful engagement and the feelings of wellbeing that go with it.

The good bit (and sometimes the hard bit) is if we are good at what we do many don’t notice the intervention it just worked -they did it and slowly the skill of goal setting, problem solving, and the ability to bring about being well occupied moves from being facilitated by the occupational therapist  to being within the clients arsonal of skill to use as and when needed and so it begins to becomes the every day, and as that happens the illusion of commonsense develops.

I am not saying others can’t bring these things about however an occupational therapists ability to manipulate context rather than the person is a pretty unique skill.

The dictionary says commonsense is: “good sense and sound judgement in practical matters” so perhaps occupational therapy is commonsense – but perhaps commonsense isn’t all that common? Perhaps occupational therapists amongst other things are builders of commonsense?

Here ends my first rant and first blog for ages…

So visitors to this blog – Is occupational therapy just commonsense?

Calling occupational therapists – What’s OT?

OT , BT3.

ALO, KOT,POT,FI, FW1,CH,ALT,ROP,HOT,SAOT

How would you feel if I told you you would be doing all of these next week? Would you feel anxious?, wonder what you should wear?, whether you should eat before you did them?

Well I guess there is about 100 people in the world who will understand all that I have just written, and at least 260,000 who will understand the first OT. From memory that is, the number of occupational therapists in the world, according to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists recent stock take on occupational therapy.  Given that we ponder/discuss and constantly work on how to get our profession better recognised by others why do we persist in saying and writing OT?

I remember as a student, another student telling the story of an elderly client who had wanted something and had been told to talk to the OT. She was heard asking around the ward for the Old Tea Lady (true!!!!)

Today I got a call from my extended family, as per my last post I currently have a family member in hospital and he has now moved to rehabilitation, and fantastically they have put a list on the wall of his rehabilitation team. Today the question from the family was what does SW stand for, what about SLT and PT and is OT occupational therapy ? I know that one day they will know what all of these stand for but wouldn’t it be nice if they knew from the word go. For those that don’t know SW is social worker, SLT is speech language therapist, PT is physiotherapist and yes OT is occupational therapy.

We have a beautiful name, that describes our core beleif why don’t we use it? I know we have to explain occupation to others but we are half way there if people start with knowing the name of our profession. So lets stop the jargon and abbreviations as one of the most proactive steps we can take to having people know and understand our profession.

Top Occupational Therapy Blogs

The number of good occupational therapy blogs is growing. I thought it was time I shared with you some of my favourites. So first up is:

June 15th

Skills for healthy living: A resource blog for health providers this is a fantastic blog to learn about chronic pain, and to develop understandings about and skills in working with clients with chronic pain. Written by an occupational therapist it’s a great way to upgrade on this specialist area. And as a bonus it also has some fabulous photo’s.

16th June – No. 2 (please note these are currently not being ranked they are just coming in the order I think about them)

Thriving in School this blog is from Hosmer Road School in the US. Funny thing is until I went back in to write this I had always thought Hosmer Road School was in the UK!! – So sorry Beth. This blog is full of practical hands on tips and ideas for therapists working with children. I think part of my love of this blog is that it takes me back to my days of being a Paediatric Occupational Therapist. But with over 17,000 visits to this blog since January 2007 it must be one of the busiest Occupational Therapy Blogs IN THE WORLD.

17th June No. 3

OT Students (B)E(LO)N(G) You have to give it to Karen she wins hands down for being the most prolific occupational therapy blogger. She’s a student in her SECOND YEAR of training. It is a blog with an interesting mix of: how my day has been from the exciting to the dreary (did I really need to know she has just done the laundry!), glimpses into what being an OT student in the US is like, thinking associated with her ongoing learning, insights into working with clients and how applying her training goes. But overall what comes through is a huge motivation and commitment to becoming the best therapists she can. I find myself just having to go see what she is up to.

June 25th – No. 4

Advance OT This next blog is an outside somewhat surprising entry in my best blogs (even to me) as it is a trade publication. What I like about this blog is that it reports on what is happening in the American Association of Occupational Therapy. I think blogs like this are a great way of ensuring the everyday happenings and events of professional bodies are visible to all and able to be discussed. I’d love to see the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists with a blog and blogger. It’s a great way of getting up to date information to members and to enable non members to see the benefits of the Association. So how about it NZAOT?

Are we busier?

Today has been one of those days when you feel that there is not enough hours in the day to do all the things that need to get done. By the time one attends the meetings, and attends to the emails (in this instant world everyone expects an email reply pronto), there seems little other time left in the standard work day.

So what was today like:

The morning was full of meetings and email – when I look back now the meetings were actually very productive, and I did manage to get most of the emails responded to although the ‘a response needed file’ in the emails grew somewhat.

At lunch time we celebrated one of our staff members going off to the Masters World Games and I found myself saying to the staff member who had arranged the celebration – it’s great to be celebrating, but sadly sometimes in today’s busy world we need to ensure that we have plenty of people around who remind us to celebrate.

After lunch things went backwards I did manage to deal with one meeting on the phone rather than a face to face meeting freeing some time. But it was one of those afternoons where the technology and I were definitely not in sych, the computer was having a go slow day, I couldn’t get the library data bases to workfrom my computer – all I wanted was one article!, then I couldn’t figure out how to cut and paste some info into a table I was trying to complete (the usual methods didn’t work) etc etc.

But I think the biggest frustration of the day was that feeling that no matter how quickly I was working there were things I just wasn’t getting to, the lecture I have to write and give on Monday, the proposal due tomorrow, the timelines that need to be written and implemented for some key activities we have planned, a second proposal due next week, the monthly reporting etc.

So today’s questions are how do we work smarter?? and how do we look after ourselves to ensure work/life/ balance. As an occupational therapist I see that it is important to live it was well as talk it. So watch this space – I’m not sure of the answers but something is going to chance.