Living not Existing should help us to stop and reconsider where our occupational therapy skills can be best used and how to promote our skills. As occupational therapists, we work with individuals on what matters to them and not what fits with services. Occupational therapists are trained to work with the whole person and believe that our treatment should be based on what is important to someone; taking a wider view of people as individuals and considering their specific health and social care needs rather than what a service can provide. Patient-centred, goal led provision is actually a more effective and efficient model of working – providing better outcomes for people and being more cost effective.
The work of Scottish Government through the Active Living Improvement Programme (ALIP), a programme designed to consider wellbeing and quality of life, is intended to reduce crisis interventions helping people to do as much as they can for themselves for as long as they can. This is a key principle of occupational therapy and with Scottish Government policy shifting to primary based care rather than acute care, occupational therapists are uniquely positioned to help deliver on policy whilst providing better outcomes for people.
To do this well there is a need to ensure that we have enough occupational therapists working in community-based settings thus ensuring timely and appropriate support to help people remain in their communities for as long as possible. It is important that occupational therapists work closely with GPs to help make this happen and that there is improved knowledge amongst health and social care professionals and in wider communities, of the range of skills that occupational therapists are trained in.
“Living not Existing” means occupational therapists being allowed to use their skills to work closely with patients, carers and wider communities to promote and support self-management to help people feel confident and to get the most out of life. That way, everyone benefits.
Alison Keir, Chair, Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ Scottish Board