Time for Reflection and Learning

img_6884-jpgIn the bustle of the delivery of our summer programmes we are usually very busy focussing on particular cases and ensuring that participants of our Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Camps received tailored solutions to their needs. It is therefore important that in the time when we pour over the resulting clinical reports we take a step back to consider the impact of each element our the programme.

During this time, when are also drawing up strategies for extending the reach of our programmes nationally and internationally, we are grateful for support from Commissioning groups and local health partners. Richard Stubbs, Interim Managing Director at Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network, praises the camps:

We are now working with Breathe Magic to develop a programme model that can be rolled out nationally so that it benefits more young people whilst demonstrating its cost effectiveness to the NHS. The programme is fun and gets fantastic results. Some young people are showing an 80 per cent improvement in their hand and arm function, which has a real impact on their daily lives as they are able to become more independent.

Breathe’s two Clinical Leads, Rebecca Jacobson and Skye Sergeant, have recently used a series of professional forum around Occupational Therapists to think about the role that evidence informed practice plays in our work and these will feed into our future strategies. Continued professional development through research and experience forms an essential to offer the best possible support to the children we work with.

Children, Young Peoples and Families Specialists

“A Space to Think” was the motto of the College of Occupational Therapy event for the ’Children, Young Peoples and Families Specialist’ section on November, 9, 2016 in Coventry. The forum challenged Occupational Therapists to evaluate their clinical experience, and the available literature and research in the field the event offered a platform for professional networking. Presentations on a variety of assessments, treatments and outcome measures formed the starting point for discussions with colleagues that come to Coventry from all over the UK, and from a great variety of paediatric fields including neonatal, mental health and physical disability.

Keynote speakers working on research with wide fields of application left our Clinical Leads with useful impulses. Hortensia Gimeno, Occupational Therapist and Clinical Research Fellow at the National Institute for Health Research for example, presented on a research project that particularly caught our attention. The key focus of her presentation was about critiquing and building on the current evidence base and using evidence correctly to guide practice. Using striking analogies her work considered in intriguing ways the question of individualised dosage of therapy.

Another aspect of the event, that sounded with our core values, was the call for goal setting through prioritising participation in activities which are engaging and meaningful for children. ‘Participation and involvement’ in everyday occupations is vital to have a positive influence on health and well-being and performance in all aspects of our lives. It embodies Occupational Therapy vision, however, as it is still emerging in literature and research, evidence is not always embedded with participation outcomes.

At Breathe, we are constantly in discussion and communication with our parents and young magicians. By ensuring a two-way communication model, which leaves the door open for real interaction between patient and practitioner, we can ensure a much more successful goal attainment. This means making every contact and interaction count in very practical ways. Every direct and indirect contact be it via letter, skype, email, phone call or face-to-face contact is an important informative means of communication which we use to support our young magicians with hemiplegia through their therapeutic journey.

In addition to the College of Occupational Therapists conference, there were a few other events from direct Breathe partners which the Clinical Leads found particularly inspiring.

For us it is particularly important to engage actively with the academic development of the field, that means both research and teaching aspects. Therefore, at the beginning of October, Clinical Lead Skye Sergeant was asked to present about Breathe Magic Intensive Bimanual Therapy programme to students at the London South Bank University as part of their “Contemporary Settings” module. Engaging with critical analyses of student about what the term ‘contemporary’ can mean in clinical settings, Skye had a chance to give an insight into practical aspects of programme delivery.

Senior Lecturer and Course Director Anne Marie Langan said:

It was very inspirational to hear about your services and also to learn about opportunities beyond traditional roles in the NHS and Social Services. You have given us all much food for thought.

On the more practical side we are also always very keen to engage with our key stakeholder groups. We reached for this opportunity at the HemiHelp Conference held in Birmingham in September. The event was an opportunity for clinicians and other people with a keen interest in the world of paediatric hemiplegia to highlight new developments. This year, HemiHelp trialled a new audience engagement initiative with a panel of parents with children who have hemiplegia. The panel expanded on their experiences with services and the interaction between services to support the child. All experiences differed, but there was a clear indication for the need to collaborate more holistically as professionals from health, education and other areas to support the child, particularly during transitional periods and for clear communication across services and with families.

As clinicians, we are glad to be embedded in a critically thinking network, which provides us with crucial impulses on how we can continue to use evidence and research to guide and shape our interventions and models of care.

Annegret Marten

Article written by Annegret
14 Nov 2016