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Occupational Therapy Week 2022 – A Reflection #OTWeek #OTweek2022 #OTHacks – Was the theme right?

Acknowledgment – This blog post is a personal opinion piece of experiences, thoughts and ideas about my own lived experience. I acknowledge these will not be shared by all and respect others rights to have, different even conflicting ideas. . 

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Occupational Therapy Week 2022 takes place every November and this year it was celebrated from 7th – 13th November. RCOT (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) take the lead on planning and developing the theme. This year they used the week to launched a new campaign to raise the profile of occupational therapy, called ‘Lift Up Your Everyday’

On the RCOT website they shared a ‘how-to’ guide and other resources to start creating and sharing your own OT Life Hacks for OT Week, and explained the reason behind the life hack idea.

The nation’s health is being impacted by crisis after crisis, from the pandemic to the worsening economic situation. Access to GPs and hospital appointments are hard to come by.

Occupational therapists help people to help themselves. You support people to do the things they want and have to do, to overcome challenges, such as completing everyday tasks or activities.

However, not everyone is able to access your support. All areas of health and social care are experiencing increased demand which is expected to rise.

That’s why, we’ve created ‘Lift Up Your Everyday’. This campaign is about giving people the knowledge to make changes that will have a positive impact on their lives – it’s always easier with a little help from an expert.  

We want you to share your OT Life Hacks and help people everywhere make positive changes to their lives.

By putting you front and centre, this campaign will promote occupational therapy in the minds of the public as health care experts whose advice they can trust, while growing their understanding of occupational therapy.

With your help, we want to empower people to help themselves by providing advice to enable them to keep doing what they love and need to do. The focus will be on small steps people can take which could make a big difference to their everyday lives – at home, at work, at school and in play.

RCOT website

On social media there was some criticism of this campaign in particularly the idea to share life hacks, with many understanding explaining that occupational therapy is a complex intervention that is often not understood and by explaining it in the simple form of life hacks did not do it justice.

An argument I agree with, however reflecting on the content that was shared during the week, there was some good ideas. Sometimes I feel that because occupational therapy is such a complex intervention, the profession gets its self tied up in knots. We do a lot of talking to each other about what occupational therapy is or isn’t and how best to explain it, that perhaps we miss opportunities to engage with wider communities, stakeholders and organisations?

Whilst it’s important to be a critical friend, no campaign will be perfect, and will easily explain the complexity of our profession. I’m keen that we use our language, but we need to meet people half way and the idea of life hacks is popular on social media platforms where most of the content of #OTweek is shared.

Having said that there is something to be said for connecting with people in other ways. In the past I have celebrated OT week, by running stalls in my workplace, in a local Art gallery. I have invited (with permission) local MP’s in to my work place to hear about occupational therapy. Written blogs on a week in the life of an Occupational Therapist, and also share content on my own social media platforms.

This year I was asked to be a guest speaker for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust CPD events for their staff, which was a real privilege.

I guess what I’m trying to say is despite your feeling towards whatever the theme of the week is, the important thing, is to engage in the occupation of promoting occupational therapy during the official week, you can do this by really focusing on the theme and embracing its idea, or by simply sharing information about occupational therapy in which ever way you feel you can.

Here are the things I shared this week.

In conclusion the theme of this years #OTweek, it was not my favourite, but for me engaging in the occupation of promoting the power of occupational therapy is whats important.

Thank you for taking the time to read please leave comments below

Rachel Booth-Gardiner

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