/ Occupational therapy in the outdoors?

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L XTharris - on 03 Nov 2017
Hi everyone,
Having read about the benefits of 'the outdoors' therapeutically and this article https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=8502.

I just wanted to ask if there is anyone who is and Occupational Therapist or works with OT's who use 'outdoors/adventure/wilderness etc' as a form of management/intervention and how they identify the Role of OT compared to an instructor/ physic etc.

thanks
Tina
Big Ger - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to XTharris:

Not outdoors, but my OT runs trips to the climbing wall with clients.
Jenny Dart on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to XTharris:

Hi,
I'm a SLT in a community adult learning disability service and alongside a specialist sensory OT regularly work with clients in forest school settings (run by NAS forest school instructors) to provide input. We also link up with gardening, farming etc. If a client would benefit from activities such as indoor climbing we could accompany them to a climbing wall etc (would need instructor from the wall there).
It's an interesting one. As a qualified ML /SPA I can't provide things via the NHS, but I can use my clinical skills and knowledge to devise therapeutic input alongside other outdoor qualified staff.
I'm very interested to see whether this can be developed in the future within the NHS, but I imagine it would have to be outside of it.
We are also under pressure in terms of how long our input is with clients, often only being allowed a certain number of sessions so we have to write recommendations and train instructors rather than doing it ourselves.
Interested to see what other experiences of this are...
webbo - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to XTharris:
I ran a group in conjunction with my local climbing wall ( they provided the instruction) which gave people with severe mental health problems a chance to go climbing. Following several sessions at the wall they had a day out at Stanage
We got funding from a charitable organisation and as we couldn't use all the sessions available, we arranged for the First Episode Psychosis team to use them and they went on to have several weekends away. Also one their service users went on to use the climbing wall on a regular basis and achieved climbing wall instructors award.
However given the time it takes organise these activities and the need to get external funding extra to NHS funding plus the fact that NHS mental health services are struggling to provide basic care. These sort of actives are not seen as having any sort of priority despite evidence of the positive effect on someone's wellbeing.
abr1966 - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

"...my OT"
I bet they really appreciate that!
abr1966 - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to XTharris:

I worked in an MDT in adult mental health once where the OT was really keen on this stuff.....and got good results! I'm sure he published some articles about it in the BAOT journal......cant remember his name sorry but it was around 1994-5 I reckon.
Great idea though.....sometimes wish id done OT instead as there'a lot of flexibility in it!
Big Ger - on 03 Nov 2017
In reply to abr1966:

> "...my OT"

> I bet they really appreciate that!

They bloody better!!

L XTharris - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Jenny Dart:

Hi thanks for your reply, please forgive my ignorance, but what does SLT stand for? Yes I agree, I can only see the 'use of the outdoor activities such as hiking, water sports etc being provided via third sector or private companies. Yes the NHS have a great challenge with their resources but I am glad to see that the use off the 'outdoors' is recognised clinically.
L XTharris - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to webbo:

Hi thanks for your reply, it was very helpful.
L XTharris - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to abr1966:

Hi thanks for your reply, Its good to hear that there was an OT keen on the climbing/outdoors. I shall try and find his research. Yes there does seem to be a lot of flexibility but also a struggle to define ourselves because of it, but we are getting there
Kevster - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to abr1966:

My OT is chained by a lack of staffing and budget constraints within the NHS. They do have a dog visit patients/ clients occasionally, and sometimes go out into the wilds of the local community for home visits.

More seriously, is there actually scope within the NHS these days for such extravagances as trips out into the back country to help rehabilitate when inevitably there will be methods to do so without leaving the premises (and if a patient is capable of accessing the wilds, why haven't they been discharged already?)

A heavy dose of cynicism etc there, but itd be nice to know not all aspects of the NHS are so constrained as I hear from my OT.
Big Ger - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Kevster:

As per my reply above, the trips are done from one of our mental health residential units, as part of a preparation for life outside.
Jenny Dart on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to XTharris:

Sorry, speech and language therapist.
L XTharris - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Kevster:
Im sorry to hear the constrainst for your OT is quite difficult at the moment as it is for all nhs currently. unfortunately it is of a time there are are constraints on the NHS yet from and this emerging area of the outdoors, where I personally believe there could be an avenue to be of benefit is so interesting atm. I can understand the difficulties of services developing business case/plan or intervention we put forward that requires an evidence based/ clinical analysis of the balance between economic value short term vs long term of holistic/clinical services in relation to the quality of life for that person . I am personally looking at how well the third sector and implementing the outdoors currently. It is great to hear the outdoors are be used for such purposes and i looking forward to see how the considerartion the management of resources carefully in order to be successful
Post edited at 00:15

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