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Occupational Therapist, NHS Hospital

An Occupational Therapist reflects on the changes training with Thistle made to their practice.

‘I asked the patient ‘What is better for you today?’ when carrying out an initial assessment. As patients only stay for 2 days I thought it may be a challenge to use the self management techniques in such a short space of time! However, I thought that using this question would hopefully encourage patients to focus on any improvements and put patients in a more positive frame of mind when they are reluctant to be discharged home, although ready medically and functionally. Also I thought focusing on the positive would assist raising the confidence of clients motivated to go home. It would also mean that I would be able to respond and listen in the short time frame with patients who had physical and cognitive problems.

‘The majority of these patients would be admitted either medically unwell, or after a fall and/or with functional / social problems. A high percentage of patients are over 65 years and report that they are either in shock when they come into hospital or are overwhelmed by the number of medical staff interventions and the amount of facts they need to communicate.
‘I found that all the patients I asked were able to understand and answer this question. The majority of patients only gave me positive feedback and even those patients who gave negative answers were able to offer some positive aspects of what was better for them. The patients’ mood appeared to have lifted when I asked the questions and verbal and non-verbal communications appeared to improve.

‘Some patients talked about their coping strategies after a few recent admissions and the strength of character that got them through their illnesses / hospital admissions. I found it was an easy question to ask and be answered and that I was not excluding any person when using this technique. I also felt I was listening to the patients and their concerns, and learning more about them as a person… their strengths and interests. It also gave me some knowledge about what motivates someone and what community services might be more appropriate to refer onto.’

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