Complementary Professions? Occupational Therapy and Occupational Health in the Emergency Services


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Jeni Bright, occupational therapy student at the University of Southampton, School of Health Sciences, reflects on her 10 week placement at Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service COT Annual Conference 2010 (22-25 June 2010)

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  • Why is it important to recognise these difference? Hudson 2007 Pessimism and optimism in inter-professional working: The Sedgefield Integrated Team
  • Discuss: Yes we are complementary professions Client benefits / Employer benefits / OH don’t have to compromise their position within their organisation.
  • Act as a link between employer and employee without OH compromising their position.
  • Complementary Professions? Occupational Therapy and Occupational Health in the Emergency Services

    1. 1. Complementary Professions? Occupational Therapy and Occupational Health in the Emergency Services Thursday, 24th June 2010 Jeni Bright [email_address]
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Demographic changes and ageing populations make extending work life a priority for government policy (Griffiths et al 2009). </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational Health teams were traditionally responsibility for managing health and well-being of the workforce. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational Health practitioners should engage with other professionals to provide vocational rehabilitation (Waddell and Burton 2006, O’Donnell and Reymond 2009). </li></ul>
    3. 3. Vocational Rehabilitation <ul><li>A growing area for Occupational Therapists. </li></ul><ul><li>Draws upon the profession’s core value that meaningful occupation is key to health and well-being. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational therapists need to consider the challenges they will face working in non-traditional areas. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Background <ul><li>10 week placement at Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service </li></ul><ul><li>Projects undertaken: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ergonomics review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review of restricted duties framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop work-injury prevention programme. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Occupational Health department structure: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Occupational Health Advisors x 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Occupational Health Nurse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Occupational Health Technician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health & Well-Being Advisor </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Understanding the Role of Occupational Health <ul><li>Driven by service needs </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt an advisory role </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on physical aspects of the role – driven by the medical model. </li></ul><ul><li>Interventions include : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-employment screening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health surveillance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fitness assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sickness absence monitoring </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Occupational Therapy Role <ul><li>Drew upon the ICFDH (WHO 2001) to identify key remaining areas of function and potential barriers to return to work. </li></ul><ul><li>Empowered clients using a bottom-up approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Client-centred approach throughout. </li></ul><ul><li>Interventions used: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Functional assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Condition management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One-to-one educational sessions </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Working Collaboratively; Common Goals and Differences Occupational Therapy Client centred Driven by occupation Predominately take an advisory approach Occupational Health Principle orientated Use a bio-psychosocial models, such as ICF Flexible approach Driven by the needs of the organisations Process driven Focus on the physical aspects of health Enabling and Empowering Use the medical model Retaining employment Safe environment Reducing employee absenteeism
    8. 8. Working Collaboratively; The Challenges <ul><li>Professional cultural differences (Hall 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational therapists need to be commercially astute. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational therapists must consider how to maintain boundaries when representing the client and not the organisation. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational Health may be protective of their roles. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Overcoming the Challenges <ul><li>Drew upon previous commercial experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Referred to skills and experience acquired through University of Southampton’s Interprofessional Learning Programme (O’Halloran et al 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Regular communication with Occupational Health team. </li></ul><ul><li>Participating in regular clinical supervision </li></ul>
    10. 10. Working Together
    11. 11. Current Challenges Facing Employers <ul><li>Black report (2008) set out some major challenges for employers including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction of fit notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work-injury prevention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health promotion </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. OT Intervention to Meet the Challenges Initiative OT skills Fit notes Functional assessments Job analysis Activity analysis Work-injury prevention programmes Activity analysis Job analysis Ergonomic assessments Environmental assessments Group skills Health Promotion Brief interventions Motivational interviewing Group sessions
    13. 13. Conclusion <ul><li>Vocational rehabilitation provides OTs with an ideal opportunity to market our profession. </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational Therapists are expected to “be able to recognise the potential of Occupational Therapy in new and emerging areas of practise” (Health Professionals Council 2006, P12) </li></ul><ul><li>It is our responsibility to promote what we can offer the employee and employer. </li></ul>
    14. 14. References <ul><li>Griffiths A and Knight A (2009) The role of physical activity in occupational rehabilitation IN Black H (Ed) Physical Activity in Rehabilitation and Recovery Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishers: Chapter 10 </li></ul><ul><li>Hall P (2005) Interprofessional teamwork: Professional cultures as barriers: Journal of Interprofessional Care , 1, 188-196 </li></ul><ul><li>Health Professionals Council (2006) Standards of Proficiency. Occupational Therapy. London: HPC. Available at: Accessed on 22.05.10 </li></ul><ul><li>Hudson B (2007) Pessimism and optimism in inter-professional working: The Sedgefield Intergrated Team: Journal of Interprofessional Care 21(1), 3-15 </li></ul><ul><li>O’Donnell M and Reymond J (2009) Vocational rehabilitation: a complementary service. Occupational Health , 61(10), 19-21. </li></ul><ul><li>O’Halloran, Hean S, Humphris D and Macleod-Clark J (2006) Developing common learning: the New Generation Project undergraduate curriculum model: Journal of Interprofessional Care, 20(1), 12-28 </li></ul><ul><li>Waddell G and Burton AK (2006) Is Work Good for Your Health and Wellbeing?. London: TSO </li></ul><ul><li>World Health Organisation. (2001) International classification of functioning, disability and health. Geneva: World Health Organisation </li></ul>