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Spotlight on... awareness weeks

Awareness weeks guide

OT Week

OT week

23-29 October 2023


This OT Week we’re celebrating the World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ theme: Unity Through Community. During OT Week, we’re asking you to #UniteForOT. As a profession, we are united by community. OTs play a vital and dynamic role in helping people engage with and participate in their community – in whichever way is meaningful to them. Not only do we work across a broad range of settings, we also help people engage in meaningful occupations. This year, we want to recognise the OT profession, celebrate the brilliant OTs working today and lift our OT community. Occupational Therapy Australia


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Practice inpatient

Practice in the community






Practice inpatient

Patient functional independence and occupational therapist time-use in inpatient services: Patient demographic and clinical correlates
Management of resources within busy hospitals require knowledge of factors associated with occupational therapist time-use. This study identified that time-use could in part be predicted by functional independence, diagnosis and sociodemographic characteristics. Occupational therapy managers can use this information to support decision making while acknowledging other patient and therapist level factors also influence time-use. Hong Kong journal of occupational therapy 21 June 2021

Using the Theoretical Domain Framework to understand what helps and hinders the use of different sensory approaches in Australian psychiatric units: A survey of mental health clinicians
This study revealed how barriers and enablers vary for different sensory approaches and how these factors impact their frequency of use in psychiatric units. It provides insights into staff recommendations to improve the use of sensory approaches in one health region in Australia. This knowledge will lead to the development of implementation strategies to address identified barriers and improve the use of sensory approaches in psychiatric units. Australian occupational therapy journal 1 June 2023

Barriers and facilitators to implementing self-directed therapy activities in inpatient rehabilitation settings
Despite some barriers to rehabilitation patients independently practicing therapeutic exercises and activities outside of supervised sessions, both clinicians and patients agreed it should be considered as routine practice. To do this, patient time, ward space, and staff collaboration are required. Further research is needed to scale-up the implementation of the My Therapy programme and evaluate its effectiveness. Australian occupational therapy journal 8 June 2023

Prioritising patients for hospital occupational therapy to reduce inpatient falls: A retrospective case-control study to identify predictive patient falls risk factors
Falls risk factors that are predictive of early inpatient falls should be identified at admission and used to prioritise patients for occupational therapy. British journal of occupational therapy 30 June 2023

Occupational therapy service provision in adult intensive care units in Australia: A survey of workload practices, interventions and barriers
Occupational therapy services in intensive care settings in Australia are limited. Published practice guidelines, further research, applications for service funding and ongoing education of the ICU multidisciplinary team regarding the scope of occupational therapy practice are recommended to promote the development of occupational therapy services in ICU. Australian occupational therapy journal 27 February 2022

Occupation-based interventions to improve occupational performance and participation in the hospital setting: a systematic review
Implications For Rehabilitation

  • The use of occupation-based interventions should be considered to improve occupational performance and participation outcomes in the hospital setting.
  • There is good evidence to support the impact of occupation-based interventions on improving occupational performance and participation outcomes in the inpatient rehabilitation setting; evidence in the acute and mental health settings is scarcer.
  • Occupation-based interventions are valued by both patients and clinicians for their impact on patient outcomes and the patient experience.

Disability and rehabilitation 31 July 2023

Occupational Therapy intervention in the training of activities of daily living with patients affected by COVID-19 in inpatient units of a university hospital
The development of this study promoted the discussion of the careful multidimensional analysis performed by occupational therapists to carry out ADLs training with patients diagnosed with Covid-19 hospitalized in wards. Furthermore, it brought important results related to the profile of the patients seen, the proportions of interventions aimed at ADLs training and the elements that guided this practice.  Cadernos Brasileiros de terapia ocupacional 24 September 2023


Practice in the community

The effectiveness of Model of Human Occupation-Based Occupational Therapy intervention for women who experienced domestic violence
Experiences of violence negatively affect women's independence and daily activities. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the "Model of Human Occupation (MOHO)"-based occupational therapy intervention on the occupational competence and occupational participation of women affected by domestic violence and living in a women's shelter. Journal of occupational therapy and rehabilitation 10 September 2023

JAVA Memory Care program: Facilitating social and occupational engagement for older adults living with advanced dementia
Key Points for Occupational Therapy

  • JAVA Memory Care could enable peer support and a person-directed approach.
  • Small structured groups promote occupational and social engagement. 
  • JAVA Memory Care provided an opportunity for residents living with advanced dementia to develop a group-based social identity and give and receive support from their peers. 

Australian occupational therapy journal    16 October 2023

Enabling people with intellectual and other disabilities to make verbal requests using cardboard chips with mini objects or pictures and a smartphone
The results suggest that the system might be useful to help participants like the ones included in this study to make verbal requests with simple responses. Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences 28 September 2023

Sensory modulation interventions for adults with mental illness: A scoping review
Sensory Modulation Interventions (SMI) assist people with mental illnesses to regulate emotional and physiological arousal. The authors aimed to conduct a scoping review to identify the study designs, geographical distribution, modality/regimen, barriers and facilitators in using SMI for individuals with mental illnesses. Hong Kong journal of occupational therapy 3 October 2023

Occupational adaptation for adults living with advanced cancer: A phenomenological longitudinal study
Study findings further Model of Human Occupation (MOHO)s theoretical conceptualisation of occupational adaptation by identifying the centrality of volition and the environment in the process of adaptation. For people living with advanced cancer, disease progression results in unremitting functional decline, thus rendering competency an unstable and untenable construct. Rather, this paper argues that occupational adaptation is facilitated by volition (i.e., the motivation behind the doing) and the environment, thus fostering a sense of identity and meaning at the end of life. Occupational therapists' awareness of the significance of volition and the environment can thus foster continued occupational engagement and meaning at the end of life for people living with advanced cancer. Australian occupational therapy journal 8 October 2023

Effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions on function and occupational performance among adults with conditions of the hand, wrist, and forearm: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Key Points:

  • Occupational therapists are key health-care professionals in the treatment of hand-, wrist-, and forearm-related disorders, a role that will expand with the emergence of therapy-led clinics and a growing evidence base.
  • Multimodal occupational therapy interventions are effective in improving function, occupational performance, satisfaction with occupational performance, and pain among those with a hand-related condition.
  • Further high-quality research is recommended regarding specific hand-related conditions, conforming with CONSORT and SPIRIT statements and use of the TIDieR checklist.

Australian occupational therapy journal 4 October 2023

The relationship between horticulture, recovery and occupational therapy in mental health: A scoping review
This scoping review aimed to establish if horticulture is an occupation-based intervention in mental health recovery. Horticulture as an occupation was found to aid recovery by facilitating the social aspect of person-driven recovery based on strengths and responsibility. Where occupational therapists were able to use horticultural therapy, they did so in a client-centred and recovery-oriented outcome way. The findings support occupation-based and recovery-oriented occupational therapy practice. Use of recovery-oriented outcome measures and systematic appraisal of evidence are required to enhance applicability of these findings. Occupational therapy in mental health 2 October 2023

Consistency between two subjective assessments of activities of daily living: Patient- and occupational therapist-reported judgments
These findings indicated that there was only a moderate to low correlation between the patients' reports and the therapists' judgments regarding the patients' ADL ability and its change. Because both patients’ reports and therapists’ judgments affect decisions on rehabilitation, frequent communication may be beneficial for reaching consensus and helpful in managing the interventions. Hong Kong journal of occupational therapy 30 August 2023

Kitchen-related tasks used in occupational therapy during rehabilitation of adults with acquired brain injury: A systematic review
Kitchen-related tasks are widely used in occupational therapy for adults with acquired brain injury. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of kitchen-related, task-based occupational therapy interventions for improving clinical and functional outcomes in the rehabilitation of adults with acquired brain injury. British journal of occupational therapy 17 September 2023

‘Having the dog as part of our family gives us hope’: Experiences of the impact of assistance dogs on the occupational engagement of children with autism and their families
Key Points for Occupational Therapy

  • Assistance dogs offer potential to improve occupational engagement for children with autism, as well as their family members.
  • These research findings provide insights to inform occupational therapists' referral, assessment, advice provided, and justification of funding for assistance dogs.
  • Current government funding processes may present a challenge when considering an assistance dog.

Australian journal of occupational therapy 28 September 2023



A scoping review of mentorship in allied health: Attributes, programs and outcomes
Key Points for Occupational Therapists

  • For a successful relationship, mentors need to be trustworthy with clear goals and expectations established.
  • Mentorship can build networks and knowledge but needs more promotion.
  • A culture of mentorship can be supported through involvement in professional associations.

Australian occupational therapy journal 14 September 2023

Are two occupational therapists better than one? Occupational therapists' perspectives of intra-disciplinary practice within community health
Occupational therapists perceive intra-disciplinary practice as beneficial for problem-solving and an opportunity for knowledge sharing that supports therapist confidence with clinical reasoning. Conversely, some therapists believe its use may lead to client confusion, a greater need for communication and coordination among therapists, and that power differentials between therapists may discourage equal collaboration. Greater understanding of intra-disciplinary practice will help guide how it is used and supported in community health settings. Australian occupational therapy journal 12 July 2023

Environmental sustainability: An exploratory study of the perceived knowledge, attitudes, and skills of occupational therapists practicing in Australia
Findings provide an initial understanding about environmental sustainability from the current perspectives of occupational therapists practicing in Australia. More structured guidance is required to integrate environmental sustainability considerations into professional practice. Future research should focus on developing a more in-depth understanding of the concepts preliminarily explored in this study.  Australian occupational therapy journal 11 May 2023

Encounters with ethical problems during the first 5 years of practice in occupational therapy: A Survey
Occupational therapists and OTAs (n = 125) completed the survey. The most consistently encountered types of ethical problems included productivity and related issues and conflicts over clinical decision-making. Occupational therapists and OTAs working in adult and older adult settings reported more consistent encounters with ethical problems than practitioners in other settings. Occupational therapists and OTAs who have been NBCOT certified for longer experienced ethical problems more consistently. The open journal of occupational therapy 15 July 2023

Neuro-behavioural changes after acquired brain injury: The role of the occupational therapist; the interventions they use and why
This bounded case study provides insight into how occupational therapists perceive their role and the interventions they use to promote occupational engagement. The lack of recognition of the occupational therapist role is a barrier to providing appropriate neuro-behavioural rehabilitation. This case study identified sensory approaches, building safe rapport and adapting the environment as the main interventions used in neuro-behavioural rehabilitation by occupational therapists. Australian occupational therapy journal 25 August 2023

Barriers and enablers to the delivery and implementation of the tailored activity programme in Australia: Perspectives of occupational therapists and their managers
Occupational therapists and their managers expressed enthusiasm for tailored activity programme (TAP) and awareness of its likely benefits, while also identifying barriers that will need to be addressed if implementation of the programme is to be successful in Australia. Australian occupational therapy journal 17 November 2022

Assistance dogs in occupational therapy practice: A survey of Australian occupational therapists' experiences and recommendations
Findings indicate that occupational therapists' lack experience and knowledge of assistance dogs although they perceive assistance dogs as within the scope of occupational therapy practice. This study highlights a need for increasing professional development opportunities for occupational therapists regarding assistance dogs, including assessment and referral processes. This will be steadily more important given the increasing profile and expanding application of assistance dogs, and funding organisation requests for occupational therapists in assessing clients for assistance dogs. Australian occupational therapy journal 25 November 2021

Guidelines for medication education for Occupational Therapists
Taking medications is a vital health management activity for people with chronic health conditions. These individuals must take their medications as prescribed to receive the intended benefits and minimize negative effects. Many people with chronic health conditions do not know essential information about their medications, which limits their ability to take their medications as prescribed. Occupational therapists regularly engage in client education to enhance performance of health management. When addressing medications, however, additional considerations are needed because of the highly regulated, interdisciplinary, and complex nature of this occupation. The purpose of this practice guideline is to describe the integration of best practices in patient education, medication education, and the occupational therapist’s scope of practice. Procedures for screening, evaluation, and intervention are discussed. The open occupational therapy journal 15 January 2022

Acute hospital Occupational Therapists’ experiences of a short-term community of practice
The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative evaluation of occupational therapists’ experience of a hospital-based short-term community of practice. Action research was integrated with community of practice techniques to implement six sessions across five months. Qualitative data was thematically analysed using line-by-line coding. Six occupational therapists participated and four themes encapsulate their experiences: Time is tight: there has to be an outcome; our tight-knit group is a safe place; this group helps me feel occupational therapy is worthwhile; and it’s not just prescribing over-toilet frames. A hospital-based short-term community of practice may support professional development. New Zealand journal of occupational therapy 1 September 2021



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