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Working as a Volunteer Occupational Therapist in Sri Lanka


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Sophie Allison of Central and North-West London Mental Health Trust addresses placement setting, roles and outcomes, challenges and considerations of volunteering as an OT in Sri Lanka. COT Annual Conference 2010 (22-25 June 2010)

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Working as a Volunteer Occupational Therapist in Sri Lanka

  1. 1. Working as a Volunteer Occupational Therapist in Sri Lanka<br />Sophie Allison<br />Central and North-West London Mental Health Trust<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />Description of Placement setting<br />Roles and Outcomes<br />Challenges and considerations<br />What I gained<br />Any questions?<br />
  3. 3. Placement Description: OT in Mental Health<br /><ul><li>Based in Kandy Sri Lanka 2001-2004
  4. 4. Employed by NGO-Nivahana Society
  5. 5. Aims of NGO to develop, primary, secondary and tertiary mental health services in the Central Province through partnership with the Ministry of Health
  6. 6. Had used various VSO volunteers of past 10 -15 years including administrators , managers , SW, nursing and OT to share skills and develop services with local partners and organisations</li></li></ul><li>
  7. 7. OT Role<br />To work with local OTs to share skills and support development of their services<br />To support development of residential rehabilitation services<br />To introduce training in mental health community rehabilitation to primary care workers<br />
  8. 8. 1. Develop OT Services<br />3 locally trained OTs in Central Province covering 2 day services<br />Lack of clinical/managerial support/links to other OTs<br />Space/income- reliance on income generating<br />projects<br />Limited allied health professionals providing psychosocial interventions<br />
  9. 9. Volunteer actions/outcomes<br />Formal /informal training goal setting, groupwork , OT models <br />Assessment formats/goal sheets/documentation<br />Diversifying range of therapeutic activities more structured groups with outcome measures<br />Supporting managerial skills-setting standards Job descriptions/policies and procedures<br />
  10. 10. Supporting MDT work – community training –consultancy role in rehabilitation services patient services<br />Developing links with other services/ promoting role of OT /management structure<br />Assisting with project proposals/funding -establishing new day centre with MDT<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. 2. Residential rehabilitation units<br />2 units -adults severe and enduring - clients aiming to stay for approx 6-12months<br />Remote settings- previously abandoned hospitals<br />Medical officer and untrained staff<br />Clients from all over the province<br />Family contact variable<br />
  13. 13. OT actions/outcomes<br /><ul><li>Training in concepts of rehabilitation, groupwork skills, developing the training skills of local counterparts-supporting counterparts in delivering the training
  14. 14. Diversifying the range of therapeutic activities
  15. 15. Use of individualised goals and care planning
  16. 16. Policies around admission and discharge procedures and criteria, standards of practice, operational policy</li></li></ul><li>Multi disciplinary case reviews- weekly visits from other staff-enhancing family involvement<br />Outcome measures and assessment standardised –non standardised assessments<br />Co-ordinating a monthly rehabilitation committee linking up with day services<br />Establishing a family support group<br />
  17. 17.
  18. 18. 3. Community training<br /><ul><li>Primary health care workers -mainly involved in child care
  19. 19. Previous training in basic mental health
  20. 20. Training changed to include child mental health
  21. 21. Focus on training the trainers and providing training packages
  22. 22. Production of information leaflets and training booklets</li></li></ul><li>
  23. 23. Challenges /Considerations<br /><ul><li>Hierarchical structure /language based/challenges for delegation
  24. 24. Political changes –local /national
  25. 25. Adjusting expectations
  26. 26. “Not another public holiday!”/pace of change
  27. 27. Sustainability
  28. 28. Being different
  29. 29. Stigma</li></li></ul><li>What I gained<br />Role opportunities that I would not have had in UK<br />More flexibility- willingness to let things go-less time pressured<br />More in-depth understanding of another culture-consideration of the wider family/community-alternative views to well being<br />
  30. 30. A broader view of service development and different model /approaches<br />Having time to think<br />Increased clinical confidence and generic skills<br />And ......<br />