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Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapy Service aims to support people to live at home longer.

The service promotes independence for children, adults and older people who have a physical, mental or learning difficulty by giving advice on how to carry out tasks differently by lending equipment to assist with self care tasks, recommending alterations to property to make the environment more accessible and signposting to other agencies for further support and advice.

An occupational therapist can help anyone having problems in their daily life. We may be able to help if you are:

  • having difficulty coping with everyday tasks at home
  • at risk of being admitted to hospital or residential care due to loss of independence
  • terminally ill
  • suffering from a sudden traumatic illness such as a stroke or head injury
  • suffering from a long term condition which has deteriorated or flared up such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis
  • a carer, or someone with a disability who needs advice and support

Achieving Dementia Skilled Level in a Community Occupational Therapy Team

We are all aware that Scotland's population is ageing and this will mean that a higher proportion of people will be living with dementia. This will have considerable implications, particularly in West Lothian where it is anticipated that the largest increases in this population will occur.

In response to these demands, the Community Occupational Therapy (OT) Team in West Lothian Council established a dementia special interest group, holding regular meetings to develop dementia awareness among the team, including knowledge of policy, approaches and local resources. This Dementia Working Group decided that the most effective way to do this was to use the Scottish Government's "Promoting Excellence Framework". Our aim was to deliver dementia training to the team to ensure that everyone would have the minimum knowledge and skills required to attain the Dementia Skilled Practice level.

With the support of Jenny Reid (AHP Dementia Consultant, NHS Lothian) the Dementia Working Group studied the skilled level learning resource together to achieve certification. On completion, two members then went on to attend the "Train the Trainer" course run by Jenny Reid. A training plan was subsequently devised to deliver the Dementia Skilled training to the whole OT Team.

The training sessions were run over 3 months, covering the 5 modules in detail and with maximum group sizes of ten to give ample opportunity to swap experiences and discuss issues in smaller groups. The learning resource was split over 3 sessions:

  • Session 1:  Module 1 - Understanding Dementia
  • Session 2:  Module 2 - Promoting Person and Family Centred Care and Community Connection and Module 4 - Meeting the Needs of the Person with Dementia who is Distressed
  • Session 3:  Module 3 - Promoting Health and Wellbeing and Module 5  -  Supporting and Protecting People's Rights

Session training plans were devised and individual preparation tasks were communicated to staff in advance, i.e. pre-reading of the modules and watching the "Informed About Dementia" DVD.

Attendees were also asked to complete pre and post evaluations, reflecting on their level of knowledge before and after training. In addition, they undertook a Survey Monkey questionnaire on the overall training experience, which was very favourably received by the team. It was clear that the team appreciated having opportunities to discuss and share their experiences and knowledge. All staff received CPD certification.

The anticipated positive outcomes for service users are that the Community OT Team now have the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to better support people with dementia in the community. This mean that people living at home with dementia will benefit from skilled staff, able to give them timely advice and tailored interventions to help meet their needs.

In future there is scope for further development of how this training is delivered, incorporating evaluation feedback, both for new members of the team and as refresher training. The training plan structure is easily transferable to other AHP and professional groups across West Lothian Council and beyond.

Performance Standards

The Occupational Therapy Service has a standard to allocate cases within 6 weeks of receipt of referral and to allocate high priority cases within 7 days - please refer to the related documents section on this page.

Out of Hours Contacts

The Social Care Emergency Team (24 hour service) can deal with urgent problems outwith normal office hours - 01506 281028 or 281029.