Guest blog by Corinne Dawes, senior occupational therapist on Church Ward, St Andrew's Healthcare

I am Corinne Dawes, senior occupational therapist on Church ward, a ten bed, low secure unit for men with complex mental illness. I have been an OT for over 17 years and at St Andrew’s Healthcare for over 4 years.


The use of outcome measures within occupational therapy

The use of outcome measures to demonstrate changes in patient’s functional ability as well as evaluating service effectiveness is crucial for the profession to work in an evidence based practice manner. Without a robust, standardised outcome measure, it is extremely challenging to track patient changes in a tangible way in order to provide the most effective treatment and ultimately support their recovery through the implementation of meaningful occupations.

I use the APOM (Activity Participation Outcome Measure) developed by Dr. Daleen Casteleijn, a South African occupational therapist as part of my use of the Vona Du Toit Model of Creative Ability. This occupational therapy outcome measure is particularly suitable for forensic mental health services where often highly complex and challenging patients are found. Small changes in a patient’s function can be captured and I can then prioritise areas of need and change my treatment accordingly.


The APOM and vocational settings

I have been working with a gentleman over the past couple of years who wanted to go to work. From my baseline assessment I identified many areas of need but priority was focused on reducing the constant supervision required to complete tasks and intervention in communication and interaction skills. One to one activities on the ward were graded and over time the APOM identified improvement in process skills. He was then introduced to a small group setting on the ward and communication skills (as well as other domains) improved to a point where he could be introduced to a workplace environment.

Accessing Workbridge WWASP allowed more resources and different challenges to be made available. Regular APOMs allowed me to track change and identify what treatments could be introduced so we could support growth in function in order for him to fulfil his roles within the workplace. This patient was transferred from WWASP to Workbridge and after further intervention and measurement of outcomes he now attends unescorted with occupational therapy offering guidance when required.

Without the use of the VdT Model of Creative Ability, the APOM and the variety of resources available at WWASP and Workbridge, it would have been much more challenging to target effective treatment and support the patient’s wishes to return to work.

Find out more about Workbridge and our vocational service for adults who have a mental illness, learning disability, autism or brain injury