Focusing on Occupation: looking at some OT News articles

Focusing on Occupation: looking at some OT News articles

Adapting recipes
People with LD struggle with more complex or abstract elements of recipes, and recipes often assume certain knowledge such as preheating the oven or how to prepare the vegetables. The OT devised a cook book specially for LD that they could follow easily. They involved different experts to consult on areas outside of her expertise, eg food safety or nutrition.
An OT by another name?
An OT is based at carpal tunnel syndrome clinic, and is performing surgical procedures such as steroid injections usually carried out by nurses. Blurring of the traditional OT role scope…. but OT cannot prescribe so she needs a prescription authorised by another health professional before she can carry out injections. Benefit of the role is that it increases access for patients to this treatment. Patients can discuss treatment and leave feedback on an innovative website, which also has a self-diagnosis questionnaire for CTS. (
From OT to case manager
Ot went from to spinal injury case manager. She used her transferable skills as discharge planner to organise care for spinal injury patients. It involves a lot of liaising with other agencies such as DWP, councils, etc, and beiong able to advocate on the patients’ behalf if they re vulnerable (eg homeless, MH).
Let me in
Self-care is not just hygiene, it has therapeutic benefits like motivation, self-soothing and confidence. In a MH inptaient ward, should males be allowed to join in on female self-care sessions? Do they have a right to that as an occupation, or is it ruining the safe space for females to discuss their bodies without judgement? Self care is large part of our daily routine and intrinsically linked to our sense of self and confidence.

Discussion points

  • –What did you learn?
  • –What did you want to know more about?
  • –What is the innovative element?
  • –Why is it needed?
  • –What added value comes from occupational therapy involvement?
  • –Has an occupational perspective shaped the innovation? To what extent?




References- articles from OT News magazine

Delaney K (2014) Adapting recipes. OT News July, 38-39

Kaile E (2014) An OT by another name? OT News November, 30-31

Newland J (2014) From OT to case manager. OT News November, 30-31

Vickerstaffe R (2014) Let me in. OT News. July, 40



Article review: “Articulating an Occupational Perspective” by Njelesani et al (2014)

Article review: “Articulating an Occupational Perspective” by Njelesani et al (2014)

This article investigated uses of the term “occupational perspective” in order to clarify a standard definition for use in occupational science. This should make it easier to apply occupational science research findings in practice, the authors argue. In the end they came up with

“a way of looking at or thinking about human doing”

What is an occupational perspective then? According to the authors it’s not an occupational therapy perspective, since this term was one of the exclusion criteria in the Method section. The authors describe in the Findings the term as being used in relation to employment until the 90s when it became associated with Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science.  Research investigating it is mainly qualitative suggesting it is something abstract perhaps also explaining why there were so many different interpretations of the term in the articles Njelesani et al (2014) shortlisted. The research on occupational perspective covered a wide variety of client populations indicating it’s a concept that applies to all people with disabilities/illness.


Read more

Just what IS occupation?

Just what IS occupation?

No, it’s not your job.

computer otter

Although in a way that can be part of one!  It’s any activity or task carried out which has an end goal and provides meaning to you. There are many definitions put forwards, all slightly different, which does make it hard to compare different articles or pieces of research effectively.  However it is generally agreed there are certain aspects of any occupation:

  • Form  the observable aspects of the occupation: what how & when
  • Function the way the occupation influences health, and its purpose or intended outcome
  • Meaning -the entire subjective experience of an individual who is engaging in the occupation

Considering occupations broken down in this way helps practitioners to understand why people choose to participate in certain occupations.

Analysing someone’s ability to carry out an occupational activity in order to assess where problem areas lie is the cornerstone of occupational therapy. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has created a useful guide to the standardised terminology that should be used when documenting activity assessments (it can be found here for BAOT members).

Occupational science seeks to answer questions about the nature of occupation, such as:

  • WHO engages in occupations?
  • WHAT occupations are there?
  • WHEN do people engage in occupations?
  • WHERE do people engage in occupations?
  • HOW are occupations performed?
  • WHY do people engage in occupations?




American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, S1-S48. [Access at: for BAOT members]

Article review: “The ideal of biopsychosocial chronic care: How to make it real? A qualitative study among Dutch stakeholders” by van Dijk-de-Vries et al (2012)

Article review: “The ideal of biopsychosocial chronic care: How to make it real? A qualitative study among Dutch stakeholders” by van Dijk-de-Vries et al (2012)

Chronic conditions (such as COPD or diabetes) are increasing in Western countries like England and Holland. These long-term conditions need the patient to be active in managing their condition in order to achieve reduced financial healthcare burden and better quality of life for the patient.

In this way, evidence shows that a biopsychosocial model would benefit patient well-being and produce these financial improvements. However provision of care that starts from the medical, emotional or social needs of individual patients does not fit in easily with the current Dutch health care system.

So the biopsychosocial model is a great idea – how to implement it? Read more

Article review: “An On-Site Job Evaluation Performed Via Activity Analysis” by Canelón et al (1997)

Article review: “An On-Site Job Evaluation Performed Via Activity Analysis” by Canelón et al (1997)

Activity analysis is used to evaluate the motor, sensory, cognitive,emotional, behavioural, cultural and social areas of the tasks being carried out in order to complete an activity. In this example, the Biopsychosocial approach is being used to guide the assessment of the patient.

Canelón et al analysed a patient who was experiencing pain in her right wrist following an injury in the workplace and subsequent hand surgery. The patient’s job involved processing insurance paperwork based at a desk workstation, and she was experiencing continued pain despite having an operation and prescribed medication to help with the pain.

Otter co-worker
I can has RSI?

They carried out an on-site job evaluation and  analysed each motor movement she carried out in great detail at her workplace. They also evaluated her communication style and social interaction with colleagues, concentration and organisation, emotional areas such as her need for gratification, and cultural influences. Read more

Occupational Science

Occupational Science

Occupational Science is an academic discipline concerned with the study of human occupation. science otter

It is a new discipline that emerged in the late 1980’s to provide a scientific base for Occupational Therapy practice. It has a close relationship with Occupational Therapy since OT uses evidence from Occupational Science to inform practice, and they are both concerned with occupation and how it affects people. Some examples of areas studied in Occupational Science could be identifying the nature or characteristics of occupations themselves, investigating the processes or outcomes of occupational performance, or attempting to explain how occupation affects people’s health/quality of life/social structures/identity. This can help to explain effects such as occupational deprivation or occupational justice. By studying what the  determinants of health are, it can also give weight to decisions aimed at overcoming occupational injustices (Yerxa 1993).

Like OT, Occupational Science draws on a wide range of other disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, economics, and evolutionary biology in order to achieve this. Yerxa (2000) illustrated this in her keynote speech reflecting on her career, where she described undertaking ‘detective work’ in order to discover which elements had contributed to Occupational Therapy, and found that ideas from history, political science, disability studies and psychology had also influenced OT in addition to those mentioned above. The information created by occupational science is important to occupational therapy because it informs traditional practice whilst providing evidence for non-traditional practice areas, and has the potential to address practice dilemmas (Wilcock 2001).

OT is focussed on the individual, whereas for Occupational Science a wider view of occupation is necessary to provide a holistic understanding  of what are complicated phenomena. Occupational science can provide the underlying rationale to OT models, for example explaining the ‘identity’ in the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance & Engagement (CMOP-E). Occupational Science has shown that our experiences and motivations for occupations creates our sense of self-identity (for example Wilcock 2006, Sennet 2008 or Hocking 2000).

Occupational science can inform traditional practice as well as provide evidence for non-traditional areas of work (Hocking 2009). Additionally it can be used to study determinants of health,  address potential practice dilemmas and overcome occupational injustices (Wilcock 2001 and Yerxa 1993).

Further benefits of incorporating occupational science research into occupational therapy practice are…Occupational science: Adding value to occupational therapy’ New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy 58(1): 29-35



Hocking, C (2000) Having and using objects in the western world Journal of Occupational Science 7(3), 148-157

Hocking C (2009) ‘The challenge of Occupation: Describing the things people do’ Journal of Occupational Science 16(3): 140-150

Hocking C and Wright-St. Clair V (2011) ‘Occupational science: Adding value to occupational therapy’ New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy 58(1): 29-35

Sennet R (2008) The Craftsman. London: Penguin books

Riley J (2012) Occupational science and occupational therapy: a contemporary relationship. Chapter 14 in Boniface G, Seymour A (eds) Using occupational therapy theory in practice Oxford: Wiley Blackwell

Yerxa EJ (2000) Confessions of an Occupational Therapist Who Became a Detective British Journal of Occupational Therapy May 2000 vol. 63 no. 5 192-199

Yerxa E J (1993) Occupational science: a new source of power for participants in occupational therapy Occupational Science: Australia 1(1) 3-9

Wilcock A (2001) Occupational Science: the key to broadening horizons British Journal of Occupational Therapy 64(8) 412-17

Wilcock A (2006) An Occupational Perspective of Health (2nd edition) Thorofare NJ: Black