Mike Garnham, a senior occupational therapist at the Trust’s forensic facility Newton Lodge, has received national recognition for his work to design and disseminate occupational care pathways and packages. Mike’s work was shortlisted in the Chief Health Professions Officer award for leadership at this year’s AHP Advancing Healthcare Awards and has been acknowledged by theCollegeofOccupational Therapy.
Mike explained “Mental health service users frequently struggle to carry out everyday activities. Occupational therapy (OT) can help support service users towards recovery and an improved quality of life. However across the profession, there is little consensus on what interventions are the most effective, or how best to deliver these.
“My vision was to use standardised outcome measures to develop evidence based care packages. Working with university partners and occupational therapy colleagues from different trusts we have produced tools that provide OT managers with a better understanding of costs and throughput in services. This is essential if we are to demonstrate that we have been clinically effective and that we have improved the service user experience.”
The Advancing Healthcare Awards were presented at a special ceremony in March, where Mike was successful in being named runner up.
Mike’s hard work has also been recognised at the 2012 Occupational Therapy Conference in June where he was presented with a Merit Award for his outstanding contribution to the profession.
The project, which was co-led with Dr Mary Morley, Director of Therapies at South West London and St Georges NHS Trust, involved analysing over 1000 standardised assessments fromRiOto generate a profile of occupational needs. Mike used these to develop draft care packages that were then revised by expert practitioners across eight trusts.
Mike and Mary began disseminating the Care Packages in February 2011 and they have since presented at over 30 different events, had 4 different papers published internationally and put together training packages for local managers explaining the rationale for the project, the risks of not engaging in the payment by results agenda and ways to implement the learning.
“The response to the work has been overwhelmingly positive.” Mike said. “Many occupational therapy managers have reported that they are now confident to engage in the local payment by results discussions. This is vital if the OT contribution is to be included in the locally negotiated care packages. Without this, service users might not get access to the occupational therapy intervention they need”.
Recently Mike has been working with OT’s in other mental health trusts to look at protocols for using the mental health clustering tool as a referral tool to the occupational therapy pathway. These have been road tested in some trusts with extremely positive feedback from both clinicians and managers and the results have shown a 70% increase in targeted OT intervention.
Mike has also developed a care plan library with a multisite evaluation planned and he is also looking at cost effectiveness studies. Mike explained, “I see this project as a platform from which further evaluation and reshaping of resources can take place to improve clinical outcomes”.