Review of Joint Pilot Programme in Occupational Therapy Launched

Posted on: 08 May 2009

A report on a six month partnership project between St. Brigid’s Hospital Management and the Department of Occupational Therapy in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Medicine, entitled The Impact of the Introduction of an Occupational Therapy Service to an Irish Mental Health Setting: Service Users and Staff Perspectives,was recently launched by Minister John Moloney, TD,  Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health, Minister John Moloney, TD.

Introduced in November 2007, the aim of the Occupational Therapy Service programme was to enable clients within the hospital and the community to improve their skills in managing their health, wellbeing and lifestyle.  The six-month pilot project involved two basic grade occupational therapists being employed by the HSE with mentorship and supervision provided by Trinity College Dublin.  

Head of Occupational Therapy at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Siobhan MacCobb said: “The research found that there was an overwhelmingly positive view of the service from the perspectives of both staff and clients.  An increase in a sense of service, users personal responsibility and self-confidence as well as positive changes which continued with clients after they were discharged. Occupational therapy assessments made a positive contribution to multidisciplinary team decisions and to discharge planning.”

Qualitative research on the impact of the introduction of an occupational therapy service on clients and staff in the hospital was carried out during the pilot period on behalf of St Brigid’s Hospital and TCD by Joan Brangan. The methodology used to gather data included semi-structured interviews with a sample of clients and multidisciplinary staff.  It also included observation of samples from clients participation in occupational therapy programmes.

“For a number of years, Louth/Meath Mental Health Services have had no access to occupational therapy services for their service users. On the initiative of clinical staff in St. Brigid’s Hospital Ardee, a steering group was initiated to address this gap in service delivery. The partnership approach between the HSE and Trinity College Dublin delivered a new opportunity for clients on a pilot basis that allowed informed decision making regarding service development within the region.” stated Local Health Manager, Louth Primary Community and Continuing Care, Anne Marie Hoey.