This assignment will evaluate the role of the occupational therapist in supporting mental health service users. Firstly it will briefly describe the key aspects of the role. Secondly it will draw on illustrative examples of interventions from three case studies, considering the role of the occupational therapist in relation to these. Finally, it will then discuss the use of outcome measure to evaluate the effectiveness of each intervention.
For the purpose of this assignment pseudonym names have been used in all three case studies. There are three key aspects of role of the occupational therapist in mental health services: To promote independent living skills, to offer therapeutic activity sessions and to support positive lifestyle change through occupation. In order to carry out each intervention, the occupational therapist must first establish a therapeutic relationship with the service user. This relationship would initially develop through the assessment and intervention planning stage. This would be done by spending time with the service user, listening to them and involving them in the decision making process. (Crepeau et al 2008). Although this is not discussed in detail in this assignment a therapeutic relationship was developed before carrying out each intervention
The role of the occupational therapist in promotion of independent living skills focuses on the service users acquirement or re-acquirement of skills that promote mental health and wellbeing. The occupational therapist role in this is as a mediator, enable, guide and teacher (Creek 2008). Teaching techniques are utilised to structure and organise the leaning experience, the focus being on the functional consequences of the illness rather then the illness itself (Peck & Norman 1999).
The role of the occupational therapist in promoting independent living skills can be illustrated in the case study of Clarence. Clarence is a 54 year old man who has been referred to occupational therapy with a view of moving him from a medium secure unit to a low secure unit. In order for Clarence to be moved to the low secure unit he would need to be independent in the areas of shopping and cooking. Currently Clarence had all his meals cooked for him and had expressed no interest in learning these new skills.
During the time spent with Clarence the occupational therapist enabled him to increase his independent living skills. This was done initially by getting Clarence to come to the new unit, through the offer of cooking him his favourite food - chicken and chips. After some time of this, the occupation therapist offered to cook the chips only, but they would go to the supermarket together to buy a ready prepared chicken. The idea of the already prepared whole chickens intrigued Clarence enough to accompany the occupational therapist to the supermarket. The development of Clarence’s cooking skills was achieved by, the occupational therapist demonstrating to him how to cook the meals. Gradually Clarence started to cook part of the meal, such as the chips and the occupational therapist would cook the rest. After some time of doing this, Clarence began to undertake the task of cooking the whole meal with only supervision from the occupational therapist. This then moved onto him cooking independently.
The above intervention demonstrates how the occupational therapist utilised task analysis to understand the sequence of the activity. Therefore allowing the occupational therapist to adapt the activity in order to meet the individual needs of the service user. The task was adapted by eliminating a step in the process, allowing Clarence to successfully master one step before moving onto another. Evidence suggests that this builds...