Group Therapy for Occupational Therapy

Rethink OT Podcast

Transcript of Episode

Today’s top is Adult Group Therapy for Occupational Therapy. What points are we hitting? Why this topic is relevant, What the OTPF says we should do about it, and what it looks like in practice. Here we go: 

#1 – Present Times: 

These times are a’changing! If you haven’t been affected by these changes wonderful!! Keep truckin’ along! If you have been affected in your adult places of services you know that group therapy in skilled nursing facilities is becoming ever-more popular! 

Every day I see people posting examples of group activities they are doing in their clinics and it got me thinking– Is there a precedent for group therapy among occupational therapists? Is it a free-for-all? Is there a way we can do group therapy and still appear competent while addressing crucial needs that only occupational therapists can address properly? Time to head to the occupational therapy practice framework. 

#2 – What does the OTPF say about Adult Group Interventions? 

What is our actual scope of practice or the expectations made on us by our profession? Is there a standard? Yes! Absolutely there is a standard! 

The OTPF says this, “Interventions provided to groups and populations are directed to all the members collectively rather than individualized to specific people within the group. Practitioners direct their interventions toward current or potentially disabling conditions with the goal of enhancing the health, well-being, and participation of all group members collectively.”

Does it give examples? OF COURSE IT DOES!!!! When was the last time you read this little beauty?! 

Some of the examples include: 

  •  Health promotion activities
  • self-management education
  • educational services
  • and environmental modification

More specifically, it mentions programs like being accessing the internet, falling prevention programs and learning to coordinate their services in the community. 

So should we be alarmed and frantic in coming up with arts and crafts projects for adults seeking rehab in order to reintegrate into the community? No! Occupational Therapy practitioners are all required to learn how to design group-based programs. There, I said, programs! Take a breath and consider what do a group of adults who have recently undergone a surgery, a decline, an injury, a mishap in medicinal management, or any other thing…what can I do to equip them with the tools they need to never end up here again? That, my friends, is the question you need to answer. 

#3 – What does this look like in practice? 

If I was to come up with something at the top of my head for a group occupational therapy session for sub-acute patients going back into the community, I would break down the number of average weeks the SNF is planning to keep them. Yes, because of the changes all SNFs ‘ballpark’ the number of weeks a patient will be there because they should be planning for how much group therapy they should administer (if any). So, say roughly 6 weeks. 

Psychosocial support and community reintegration preparation

  1. Falls Prevention
  2. Balance exercises and dynamic balance training
  3. Alternative pain management and the importance of managing the pain
  4. Planning Adventures (1 adventure a month) Doing one new thing a month that you need to grow with
  5. Who are you going to call? Teach them the different providers with handouts
  6. Memory loss and action steps 

All of these areas case the most disfunction if not addressed. 

As for Long term Care Residents requiring group therapy, I would focus on exciting the brain and the body:

  1. Stretching (ballistic stretching not static stretching) 
  2. Sing along 
  3. Anything with gross movement and neurodynamic activity (seated or standing)