Occupational Therapy partnerships with QAS
In the United Kingdom there has been a considerable enhancement of partnerships between paramedics and occupational therapists in using a person centred risk enablement approach for vulnerable people in communities (Preston et al, 2018). Innovative partnerships have kept people in their own homes and away from emergency departments (RCOT, 2017a,b). Initiatives have included:
- Joint home visits between occupational therapists and fire and rescue staff to people with complex needs and who are considered high risk including people who call ambulances due to falls
- Development and implementation of referral pathways from emergency services to occupational therapy to promote joint working, information sharing and occupational therapy follow-up
- Shared training programs to develop competencies for paramedic staff to deliver public health with an occupational enablement approach
- Formal arrangements for occupational therapy students to have learning opportunities with local fire and rescue services
Metro South Occupational Therapists have the knowledge, skills and abilities to implement these strategies. Many of these strategies do not require additional staffing but require a new approach and enhanced partnership. A successful Futures Lab submission would aim to fund dedicated project time for a MS Occupational Therapist to develop partnerships with QAS and potentially universities to further develop these strategies within the Metro South context and to prioritise and cost implementation plans.
Why the contribution is important
Why is this important?
According to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in the UK, 76% of people who received a joint assessment between a paramedic and an occupational therapist in the Lancashire Falls Response Service were able to remain at home, saving 197,500 pounds (COT, 2017). The report also includes information about other models of care where occupational therapists are embedded in emergency services. Another report discussed a similar model where 70% of patients did not need to be taken to hospital and increased ambulance resources were freed to respond to life-threatening emergencies (NHS, 2018). Whilst these estimated cost savings are important, the person centred focus on supporting people to remain at home and also the prevention of hospital acquired functional decline are even more significant.
This YouTube video shows the role of occupational therapy with paramedics in the East Lancs Falls Response Service resulting in patients staying at home and keeping people out of emergency departments https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDHeU_pJ3KQ
The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives report, NHS Ambulance Services – Leading the way to care (2015), includes a case study on page 17 that highlights the role of occupational therapy with ambulance service for an 82 year old “sick patient” who was unsteady on his feet. A similar case study is included in the Allied Health Professionals supporting patient flow report – Case Study 4, p.10 (NHS, 2018).
- Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (2015). NHS Ambulance Services – Leading the way to care. AACE, London, UK. P. 17 Available at (accessed 23/08/19) http://aace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/AACE-Leading-the-way-to-care-FINAL-W.pdf
- Bishop, K. (ND). Better transfers of care for older people: Assessment at the front door (oral presentation). Kings Fund UK. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/Karin_Bishop.pdf
- NHS (2018). Allied Health Professionals supporting patient flow. NHS Improvement and NHS England. Case Study 4, p. 10. Available at (accessed 23/08/19) https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/2485/AHPs_supporting_patient_flow_FINAL_.pdf
- Preston, J. et al. (2018). Occupational therapists and paramedics form a mutually beneficial alliance to reduce the pressure on hospitals: A practice analysis. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81(6). 358-362
- Royal College of Occupational Therapists (COT) (2017a). Reducing the Pressure On Hospitals – 12 months on. London: College of Occupational Therapists. Available at (accessed 23/08/19) https://www.rcot.co.uk/promoting-occupational-therapy/occupational-therapy-improving-lives-saving-money
- Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) (2017b). Fire and Rescue Services: The value of working in partnership with occupational therapists. London: Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Available at (accessed 23/08/19) https://www.rcot.co.uk/promoting-occupational-therapy/occupational-therapy-improving-lives-saving-money
by RCox on August 23, 2019 at 03:15PM