Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Guest Blog Post ; The Therapeutic Value of gardening


A few weeks ago I was working with a group of our first year students who were completing a trigger for one of their modules. The trigger required them to consider a specific leisure activity and the therapeutic value of this activity for a range of occupational needs.
The group worked on swimming, gardening and creative writing. They presented in both a creative and thorough way that I was so impressed I asked each group to contribute to our blog with their findings and thoughts.
Here is  the post from the Gardening group:
What they haven't mentioned is the creative way they collected people's thoughts on gardening - they asked each one to write their thoughts on a paper 'leaf' and this was hung on a twig tree for the presentation and for the rest of the group to read and enjoy.
 
The therapeutic value of gardening
PBL Group: Rachael, Lucy, Fran, Elise & Keeley
Written by: Lucy & Rachael

Diamant & Waterhouse (2010) conducted research with Thrives , a national UK charity who run a social and therapeutic horticulture project to examine how gardening facilitates health and wellbeing through belonging. Findings suggested  that gardening has positive effects on members of the project and in turn in improving health and well-being of the individuals.
Whilst in PBL, trigger three gave us the challenge to look into gardening and its therapeutic value further. This posed the question "what is the general perception of gardening amongst the general public?"  . By asking family, friends and the general public what their personal views were on the topic, it enabled us to gain a broader view on the value of gardening. Below represent a couple of direct quotes that we gathered:
  • ‘Gardening takes you in the moment; you are not worrying about the past or future’
  • ’A relaxing feel while working with plants and a excellent workout’
We also looked at how accessible gardening is for all types of people regardless of ability, function or circumstance. This proved to us that there are a wide range of gardening possibilities from groups that target specific ages or conditions to a wide range of adaptive equipment available, for example long reach tools and even numerous methods to carry out the activity!
When first approached with the trigger, collectively it would be fair to say we did not realise the values gardening could have upon an individual.  Through a combination of our own input, other people's perceptions and good old academic research it is now clear that we definitely underestimated the power of the plants!
PBL Group: Rachael, Lucy, Fran, Elise & Keeley
Written by: Lucy & Rachael

Reference:
Diamant E, Waterhouse A (2010)  Gardening and belonging: reflections on how social and therapeutic horticulture may facilitate health, wellbeing and inclusion
The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 73, Number 2, February 2010 , pp. 84-88(5)

Friday, 7 March 2014

A Gremlin check

Hello
Our blog appears to have rogue sentences appearing over our posts. This is annoying and I am trying to use my (limited) technical ability to resolve. If anyone has any ideas of what else I could try all hints and tips gratefully received.
Sometimes posting a new post resolves this - so this such a post. In the meantime please enjoy the Salford sunshine in our campus photo - and maybe take time to visit the 4OT suite of links to a whole host of OT groups shown in our News Feed (courtesy of David Nixon)
Thankyou

Monday, 17 February 2014

Values Based Recruitment

At the moment we are at one of the busy times within our undergraduate admissions cycle with the process of interviews and selection. I am always heartened by both the motivation and the high standard of the applicants we see during this process and it is often a difficult task to select only 56 from the 140 or so that we interview. We are constantly seeking ways of ensuring this process is fair and robust and offers a clear selection process for all involved - so one of the new changes I have brought to this process this year is the introduction of Values Based Recruitment.

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 Values Based Recruitment (VBR) works through identifying values and attitudes of the applicant and how they fit the organisation and/or nature of the business – in this case occupational therapy.VBR sits alongside skills, experience and competencies and can help an applicant to demonstrate how and why they make certain choices and identify attitudes and reasons that underpin behaviour. It is also suggested that VBR can lead to improved performance and better retention – new recruits enjoy the work and the culture and want to stay. Therefore we recruit those more closely aligned with professional values and organisation values.

There are, of course many drivers for introducing VBR which include:

  • Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2010)
  • The Francis Report (Mid Staffs 2013)
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This report contains a relatively low message for AHPs but there are clear messages to embrace.  Main training issues focuses on nursing, however they have resonance with Occupational Therapy.
185: There should be an increased focus on a culture of compassion and caring in nurse recruitment, training and education. Selection of recruits to the profession who evidence the:
·      Possession of the appropriate values, attitudes and behaviours;
·      Ability and motivation to enable them to put the welfare of others above their own interests;
·      Drive to maintain, develop and improve their own standards and abilities;
·      Intellectual achievements to enable them to acquire through training the necessary technical skill

  • The NHS Constitution (2012) with the introduction of 
--> the 6 C’s of Care:
·      Care
·      Compassion (includes empathy, kindness, respect and dignity)
·      Competence
·      Communication
·      Courage (includes speaking up when things are wrong)
·      Commitment
During  consultations held last year with current students, service users and staff, a nominal group technique was used to produce a consensus for the top values amalgamated from all relevant drivers  Throughout the consultation period  I had a number of discussions  about expectations of an applicant in terms of values. Often it is proposed that professionals can learn and develop values through their educational and practice experiences as a student. However, Barker (2013:82) states “We can learn to understand the needs of individuals but not to be ‘sympathetic’ and have ‘concern’ for others. In addition values rated highly as being important for an occupational therapist included:
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1.     Respect each person as an individual
2.     Respect individual’s dignity
3.     Working Together
4.     Commitment to confidentiality and Being Ethical
5.     Being Kind and Knowing and complying with rules and regulations
We have now included ways within our interview process that will help applicants display these values to given scenarios and/or questions and will be conducting an evaluation of the entire process in due course. Watch this space for more news soon.......

 References:
Barker K (2013) Can Care and Compassion be taught? British Journal of Midwifery February 2013 Vol 21, No 2 82
  Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public enquiry (2013) Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Enquiry Executive Summary London:HMSO

Friday, 7 February 2014

Of dancing and the importance of acceptance....

Following an earlier post I wrote back in 2012 about Gareth Malone and his choirs and the link between engagement in occupation and wellbeing (http://frederickroad.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/occupation-singing-and-gareth-malone.html) I have recently had occasion to consider a similar thing in relation to dancing.
Wayne Sleep, an award winning ballet dancer, trained at the Royal Ballet School in the UK and well known for his cross over into popular culture (and of course that dance with Princess Diana), has started a new 'reality tv' show where he is bringing 18 plus-size amateur ballerinas together to perform Swan Lake. His approach seems to be one of battling the stereotype of the profession - something he has done throughout his career, constantly being told he was too short to be a successful dancer.   Now he is challenging the stereotype body shape and fighting back “just because you’re big in weight or width doesn’t mean you can’t dance” (although patronising asides such as "they are having a go which is the main thing" doesn't necessarily help the cause).

In a culture that increasingly judges people on their looks and shape, the world of ballet is possibly
one of the most forceful (apart from modelling perhaps) in preventing people from engaging in an occupation they love - whether that be for leisure or for chosen vocation - a situation that we as occupational therapists would recognise as occupational deprivation : " A state of prolonged preclusion from engagement in occupations of necessity or meaning due to factors outside the control of the individual" (Christiansen & Townsend 2004 cited in ENOTHE 2004).

As occupational therapists we consider occupation in terms of form and performance. Form is defined by Nelson (1988) as a 'pre-existing structure that elicits and guides subsequent human performance' (p634) and is made up of the physical and the socio-cultural dimensions. The form in the case of ballet dancing could be:
a) Physical: the dance steps, the costumes, the place in which dancing happens.
b) Socio-cultural: the stereotypes given by the community of professional dancers, the stereotype given by the wider community, one of the participants demonstrates this by stating "I didn't fit tjhe mold"

Wayne, by making this programme is challenging the socio-cultural aspect of the form. By changing the form he is attempting to engage those who have previously been excluded and I will be interested to see how this progresses.

What was significant was the effect this potential to engage is having on the participants. In his early career, Wayne was often told to stop and told 'no' but this only made him want to engage more demonstrating that his intrinsic motivation and self belief was strong. Some of the participants in the programme were not so able to find this level of self-belief but the pull to engage never went away:
" ballet was my life" and "I lost my dance" which clearly show a sense of self that was connected to dance - and once this was severed then poor self-image and low confidence ensued. This was highlighted by comments following the audition process - a process that was rigorous and was rather beautiful to watch the joy exhibited alongside unexpected grace and musicality (my own preconceptions of stereotype perhaps?).  More than one participant stated that they felt "beautiful" or "pretty" again. Even one that did not get through to the final troupe was full of confidence - "I can go home and be proud of myself".

Just goes to show how important it is that, as occupational therapists,  we should be led by the individual in what empowers them, what enables them to gain intrinsic motivation, self-identity and a sense of worth - despite what others may think - whilst acknowledging the challenge to be had in subverting the form.

I wait for the second episode and look forward to seeing how the troupe progress.
A state of prolonged preclusion from engagement in occupations of necessity or meaning due to factors outside the control of an individual, such as through geographic isolation, incarceration or disability.  (Christiansen and Townsend 2004, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpufA
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf
A sense that one’s occupations are meaningless and unfulfilling, typically associated with feelings of powerlessness to alter the situation. (Hagedorn 2001, cited in ENOTHE 2004) - See more at: http://www.cot.co.uk/standards-ethics/key-terms#sthash.iLX948M0.dpuf

4OT Switchboard

A big thanks to David Nixon for creating this - this will link you to all the 4OT sites currently in Facebook...just click on the link you want to see.