The interactive website was created as a result
of research and team work which allowed us to present its need and value for
allowing people to gain knowledge to underpin exactly what occupational
therapists can do to allow people to remain independent within the community
and prevent hospital admissions. The website is a simple, easy to use resource
which supports individual’s to understand the work occupational therapists do
with people at any age. The aim for the website is to allow people to become
aware of the profession of OT and use it as a guide for prospective students to
gain an understanding of what the course entails. In conclusion,
throughout the time working as part of a team and carrying out research, it
became evident that OT is a misunderstood profession and there is a huge amount
of people that may have never heard of an occupational therapist.
final stage is the ‘performing’ phase of the model. Although, there was concern
about not having our desired project completed in time, the team pulled through
and strived for completion. In this stage there was no disagreements within the
group and everyone was extremely productive to ensure the final result was
achieved. As the final presentation got closer, the team came together and
discussed upon each person’s role for the presentation. We ensured that work
was divided equally within the group allowing for the presentation to be
presented at a high standard. Reflecting back, this stage is crucial when
working in a team as it ensures that all the loose ends are tied in and every
person within the group is aware of what is happening and what each
individual’s role is.
stage of the model is known as the ‘norming’ phase. As the team got to clearly
know each person’s skills and capabilities a goal was created for the digital resource,
to develop an interactive website. Everyone put aside any differences that had
risen and were more accepting of one another. There was always time for
feedback to be provided openly in the group which was a huge factor in allowing
the project to progress. Reflecting on this phase, I can clearly see how much
the relationships strengthened and the project began to come to life.
the ‘forming’ phase the group then moved into the ‘storming’ phase. As a group,
we began to give our own views and opinions which allowed us to work well with
one another to clearly identify who was suited for each role such as the team
leader. From identifying roles for each individual, I look back now and realise
how much of a positive impact it had as it allowed everyone to feel that they
had their own job and were able to use their skills to benefit the team.
Everyone within the team always put in all their effort and continuously
motivated one another by providing support throughout the project. Each member
of the group felt they were capable of opening up and asking for help when the
workload became too much or too difficult to carry out. Although there were
occasions where roles and opinions clashed within the team this never resulted
in any distress for the team and was always resolved quickly through open
discussion. Within the group there never came
across to be any issues with regards to individuals dominating responsibility,
which allowed the team to flow efficiently into the next phase.
When looking back and reflecting upon the process we went through as a
team to develop the digital resource I feel that Bruce Tuckmans Team
Development Model (1965) is appopriate as it flows through the relevant phases
of creating a strong and highly motivated team. To begin with, the ‘forming’
phase foccused on how the group interacted both together as a team and
indivually. Now when I look back I feel that the group were nervous looking at
the challenge ahead. To begin with, the group as a whole took a while to settle
in and truly undertsand what was being asked of us as I feel everyone had picked
up different views which led to a slow start to the project. To begin with, each individual’s role within
the team was unclear as we were still learning new things about one another and
observing each and everyone’s specific skills. Although there was not initially
an identified team leader, I do feel each individual did naturally take on the
role of being leader throughout the task, taking lead in the areas which they had
previous experience in. As there was a high amount of uncertainty to begin with
on the task ahead, several discussions were had with individuals outside of the
team to gain guidance allowing us to take a step in the right direction. Initially
discussion was focused on identifying the basics – choosing an appropriate idea
for a digital resource, considering what stakeholders would be relevant for us and
thinking critically about the project, discussing structure, deadlines and what
research is actually relevant to occupational therapy.
the development of the digital resource, roles within the group were
identified, with each individual having the opportunity to take their skills
and act as a leader. As challenges raised throughout the course of the project
each individual had the opportunity to expand in their communication, leadership
and teamwork skills. The project allowed
me to grow and develop on both my verbal and non-verbal skills with regards to
professional interaction and engagement.
These guidelines helped form the resource as they encouraged the
group to focus on strategies to reduce the risk and fear of falls, allowing
individuals to remain as independent and
safe in their own homes for as long as possible. This was largely considered, as the Social
Care Institution for Excellence (2014) reports that elderly people prefer to
stay in their own homes until it is physically and mentally impossible to do
so. The guidelines pushed the group to
focus not only on the physical aspect of strength and stability, but also in
aiding the client group to identify hazards in their own home environment.
The College of Occupational Therapists practice guidelines (COT
2015) provides evidence-based recommendations for Occupational Therapy practice
when working towards the management and prevention of falls. The guideline’s recommendations include
reducing the risk of falls, reducing the fear of falls, and making falls
The Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) Standards of
Proficiency for Occupational Therapists (2013) give guidance to professional
practice and proved relevant when developing a resource that would benefit an
individual’s health and wellbeing.
group designed an interactive website that allows school leavers or anyone with
an interest in OT to use and gain a more in depth understanding on what we
do. The focus of the project was to
allow those with an interest in OT to learn the importance of the OT role in
maintaining community living and preventing hospital admissions for those of
As a group it was decided that three
different populations would be used for our project as we wanted to get away
from the generic view that occupational therapists work only with the elderly
population who have suffered from a fall and to allow everyone to see that
there are people of all ages with varying conditions that require input from
OT. The Scottish Government (2017) states that occupational therapists help to
support people of all ages and abilities to live well, be physically active,
manage their own health conditions, remain in or return to employment, and live
independently at home or in a homely setting. It was also found that 77% of
students that where questioned in a research study stated that the wide variety
of possible work settings within occupational therapy practice was the main
reason for choosing it as a profession (Craik et al. 2001).
The number of
students who first heard about occupational therapy via the internet increased
by 5.3% between 2001 and 2003 (Craik et al. 2001 and Craik and Zaccaria 2003).
Using this information, we then felt it would be beneficial if we conducted
research within the current first year students at Robert Gordon University via
an online survey, these results helped to inform our decision and design of our
digital resource. It was seen that 75% of the students said that they would
have preferred a digital resource over a paper resource e.g. a leaflet, yet a
full 100% of the students said that their careers advisor had not signposted
them to any digital resources about OT.
demonstrated that the younger generation have, in some ways, created the
internet community and so have become stakeholders of it (Louge 2006). This
suggest that young people have a vested a lot of time and interest in the
internet and feel a sense of ownership of it. Warren (2007) argues that people
are more likely to engage and stay engaged in something which they feel they
have some ownership of, meets their needs and takes into account their
preferences. In this case it is argued that the internet is something which
many people have an interest in and find accessible. This statement also
supports the use of an online resource as it suggests that people are likely to
engage with it. Thompson (2014) states
that interactive materials and visual aids are appealing to people and come
across as fun. This statement supports the choice of an interactive website for
the delivery method. In terms of promoting careers, Whitehead (2012) argues
that the internet is a vital tool in recruiting students to university. The
digital resource is aimed partly at applicants to the university course Bsc (Hons)
Occupational Therapy, meaning that the use of this resource is supported in the
field of education and recruitment, allowing for prospective students to gain a
real feel for what they would learn from the course.
resource chosen is an interactive website. This is strongly seen as an evidence
based choice which will be highly utilised and easily accessed by the target
audience (careers advisors and applicants to a university course). When
focusing on the target audience it is important to consider what type of media
would be the best suited for them. Over the past few years, the use of
computers by people of any age group has grown drastically, and using the
internet for educational purposes and for accessing information has also
increased dramatically (Louge 2006). This research outlines the popularity of
the internet in the modern world amongst all people of all ages. A study showed
that 56% of teenagers state they use the internet several times per day, and
24% describe themselves as using the internet almost constantly (Pew Research
Centre). This further demonstrates the sheer popularity of online material in
the adolescent population. It also demonstrates the extent to which online
material has become an integral part of young people’s lives as it was seen
that 99.2% of 16-24 year olds are active users of the internet (Office for
National Statistics 2016).
The aim is to develop a preventative
intervention, collaborating with other professions and services in the NHS to
provide a thorough resource. The group considered factors and services provided
from other professions, as well as occupational therapy, to provide the most
beneficial media of reducing the risk of falls in the older adult
This professional driver “covers
assessment of fall risk and interventions to prevent falls in people aged 65
and over. It aims to reduce the risk and
incidence of falls and the associated distress, pain, injury, loss of
confidence, loss of independence and mortality”. (NICE Clinical Guidance, 2013, P. 4) The guideline contains direction on
multifactorial risk assessment and interventions, which have shaped the
material in the digital resource.
? Need to be given
scope to redesign interventions to meet local needs and expectations and to
move towards a more preventive and enabling approach.
opportunities and support to expand their roles and develop their skills, for example in enablement
and rehabilitation, including leisure and work.
Code of Ethics
Taking this study into account, the aim for the digital resource was to successfully
make those interested in OT aware of the impact occupational therapists can
have on reducing hospital admissions and maintain community living. This in
turn would reduce the pressure on services in the NHS, easing the cost of
keeping individuals in hospital.
The UK’s ageing
population will result in substantial changes for public services. The population is in increasingly getting
bigger – “between
2015 and 2020, over a period when the general population is expected to rise
3%, the numbers aged over 65 are expected to increase by 12% (1.1 million); the
numbers aged over 85 by 18% (300,000); and the number of centenarians by 40%
(7,000).” (The Scottish Parliament,
2015, p.50) This rising figure of elderly people will have a significant
influence on the NHS services and expenditure.
According to a 2010
estimate made by the Department of Health, on average the cost of
providing hospital and community health services for a person aged 85 years or
more is around three times greater than for a person aged 65 to 74 years. (The Department of Health, 2010).
Parliament have identified prominent issues in relation to the older adult age
group. The Aging Population: Key Issues for the 2015 Parliament highlight the
issues the elderly population are faced with and identify what affect these
have on the NHS service economically.
The research states that “vastly improved life expectancy, one of the great
triumphs of the last century, looks set to be one of great challenges of this
one”. (The Scottish Parliament, 2015, p.
Additionally, the strategy aims to have the “the whole of the NHS
committed to patient safety and, in particular, to avoiding infection and harm,
using consistent and reliable improvement methods” (The Scottish Government
2010 p. 2). This aim was largely
considered by the group in relation to the falls prevention intervention. This pushed the group to reduce the risk of
harm through falls by including features to help clients identify hazards in
their home environment.
The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHS Scotland (2010) is a
strategy focusing on the views and priorities of people working for and with
NHS Scotland and the clients receiving care and service alike. The client
centred strategy considers patients and workers’ views to gather information in
order to continually develop and improve their care in the future. The strategy
states its core purpose is “about putting people
at the heart of our NHS”, meaning that the NHS services “will listen to peoples’ views, gather information about their
perceptions and personal experience of care and use that information to further
improve care”. (The Scottish Government
2010 p. 5) This aim was largely considered by the group in relation to the
falls prevention intervention as it pushed the group to provide a questionnaire
to the participants, following the pilot trial to give them the chance to
provide constructive feedback.
AHP’s As Agents Of Change In Health And Social Care
Allied Health Professions Co-creating Wellbeing with the People of Scotland: The Active and
Independent Living Programme in
With this in mind, the group took this guideline as
significant driver for the development of the digital resource, acknowledging
the impact falls have on the elderly population’s mental and social
wellbeing. From this research, the group
evaluated the necessity to produce a digital resource to reduce a drawback in
the elderly population, which often leads to isolation and social exclusion.
guidelines discusses the impact of living in areas with social deprivation and
how there is higher rate of hospital admissions.
Practices serving the most deprived populations have
emergency admission rates that are around 60–90 per cent higher than those
serving the least deprived populations (Blatchford et al 1999; Purdy et al
There is evidence
from the UK, North America and Europe that people who live in areas of socio-economic
deprivation have higher rates of emergency admissions, after adjusting for other risk
factors. In the UK, admission rates are significantly correlated with measures of social
deprivation (Majeed et al 2000). Socio-demographic variables explain around 45 per cent of
the variation in emergency admissions between GP practices, with deprivation more
strongly linked to emergency than to elective admission (Reid et al 1999; Duffy et al 2002).
It was found
that there is an increased likelihood of hospital admission if you live in an
area of socio-economic deprivation (Kings Fund 2010).
Your service and your practice should be
centred on the occupational needs of the service user and their carer, but
local, national and environmental resources for care are not infinite. At
times, priorities will have to be identified and choices will have to be made,
while complying with legal requirements, and national and local policy.
are numerous drivers that played a crucial role in the development of the
digital resource. Several policies and guidelines were focused upon in relation
to each of the three client groups that were used allowing for applicable
information to be discussed upon to develop the groups thinking and ideas.
digital resource will also include involvement form a selection of
stakeholders, including university lecturers, occupational therapists, careers
advisors and also those interested in receiving OT intervention. The
interactive website will include three different case studies from a young boy
with cerebral palsy and profound and multiple learning disabilities, to a
middle aged man with paranoid schizophrenia and also an elderly man who has
Parkinson’s disease and recently suffered from a fall at home. The reason behind having three case studies rather than
one, was to allow those interested in OT to discover that we can work with
people at any stage in their lives and with those with varying conditions. The
digital resource will teach those interested, what occupational therapists do
to prevent people being admitted to hospital and allowing them to remain as
independent as possible in the community. The resource will also allow service
users to gain an understanding of the help occupational therapists can provide
to gain an idea of what help is out there.
Government’s 2020 Vision states that by 2020 the aim is for everyone to live
longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting. They aim to develop a
system where ever possible hospital admissions will be avoided with care
directed to the community, the person will be at the centre of
all intervention and treatments no matter the setting, and there
will be a focus on ensuring that people get back into their home or community
environment as soon as appropriate, with minimal risk of re-admission into
a hospital or care setting (The Scottish Government 2011). The Department of
Health (2011) show the significance that OT intervention can have to allow
people to remain independent at home as they state that OT is required to
identify home and environmental hazards (Department of Health 2001), and by
overcoming potential hazards hospital admissions may be reduced to some extent.
several drivers that inform how resources are developed that will be looked
in the community and preventing hospital admissions is often an overlooked area
of OT therefore, as a group it was decided that our focus would be on to create
an interactive websites to allow school leavers and anyone with an interest in
OT to widen their knowledge and gain a more in-depth understanding on what
working as an occupational therapist is really like.
When it comes to
seeking guidance from careers advisors or guidance teachers, due to OT not
being a recognisable career, we decided as a group that a digital resource that
is easily accessible by those requiring more knowledge on the profession would
be best suited.
obtain a very outdated image of OT where we just do basket weaving with people.
When in reality it is supporting people of all ages and abilities to live well,
be physically active, manage their own health conditions, remain in or return to
employment, and live independently at home or in a homely setting (Scottish
When it comes to
understanding what occupational therapy (OT) is there is a lot of
misconceptions and misunderstandings of what the profession is (Leaver 2012)
therefore, it is important that there are many resources out there to develop