Occupational therapy in mental health services for older people

North Durham, Derwentside, South Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool and Easington

5 day rapid process improvement workshop (RPIW)

Our older peoples occupational therapy service was experiencing long delays.

Patients who were referred were waiting up for weeks to be seen, there were a lot of patients on the waiting lists and occupational therapists were spending only 25% of their time in direct clinical contact with patients.

We wanted our patients to be seen within 3 days of their referral to the service.

We also wanted occupational therapists to spend 50% of their working day in direct clinical contact with patients.

During the RPIW we worked hard to remove waste and improve the occupational therapy service for our patients. We put some new ways of working in place, including using electronic diaries to book in pre-set assessment and treatment slots and using standardised cribsheets for assessments, discharge etc processes.

With the new process in place, occupational therapy staff are spending, on average, 48% of their time in direct clinical contact with patients and the majority of patients were being seen within 3 days, with a maximum wait of 9 days.