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An economic assessment of making Occupational Therapy Services more therapeutically led

Lynsey Cameron, Senior Occupational Therapist, Ayrshire Hospice

Lynsey's case study was completed in 2019 and reflects 2019 prices

Occupational Therapist's (OTs) look at the barriers to engagement in daily activities. It is widely recognised that in palliative care, patients will functionally decline and with that comes significant losses in participation in day to day activities; roles; decision making and quality of life. However, it has been shown that participation in meaningful activities improves symptoms such as fatigue; pain and anxiety; allows patients to adapt and learn new strategies to maintain their independence; and also allows them to regain some control and enhance their quality of life despite their reduced ability in function. (Mills and Payne, 2014)

Aware of the potential of participation in meaningful activities, Lynsey, a senior Occupational Therapist at Ayrshire hospice introduced practical group sessions to promote self-management in the hospice day services centre. In addition, Lynsey increased awareness of the role of occupational therapy in palliative care, and increased the confidence of the staff to refer to the service. She also improved the efficiency of the occupational therapy service.

Lynsey demonstrated that with little set up or running costs and simply through service redesign, specialist palliative care OTs can increase the number of patients referred to their service. As well as demonstrating improvements in patients' perceptions of their and their carer's anxiety, Lynsey also highlighted the potential of her re-designed service to address practical issues and avoid costs elsewhere in the system. Examples included the avoidance of referrals to local authority OT services, the hospice counselling service and the hospice Respite and Response team.

You can contact Lynsey by email:

Case study

One page summary