Category Archives: OT Practice

Evidence Based OT Practice, Part I: Why OTs Should Stop Saying “There’s No Evidence for What We Do”

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Like most OT practitioners, I’ve had wonderful and terrible experiences with evidence-based practice. I’ve worked with clinicians across the spectrum – from those who are up-to-date experts in their practice area to therapists whose only sources of evidence were Pinterest and occasional chats with coworkers.

 

As I’ve started working and participating in more professional dialogues about occupational therapy practice, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. In every setting where I’ve worked or done fieldwork, in online forums (including this blog), and at every conference I’ve heard people saying, “There’s no evidence for anything we do in OT!”

 

Just as an example, consider the two images below, both from online discussions I’ve seen or participated in this past year:

EBP Blog Comment Screenshot

Source: WTF Blog Post Comment Section

 

EBP Facebook Comment Screenshot

Source: Pediatric Occupational Therapists Facebook Group

 

At first I was quite confused by these statements. After all, I spent two years in a master’s program learning about different types of evidence that validate and legitimize the practice of occupational therapy – so how could these people say there wasn’t any evidence for OT intervention? It didn’t make any sense.

 

But as I joined the workforce and began spending more time at professional conferences, team meetings, and other events I noticed that few people cited anything other than their own experience, outdated trainings, or anecdotes from friends to back up what they were doing with their clients. Despite the professional push for evidence-based practice, countless news stories about the value and impact of OT, and my professors’ unending lists of references and clinical experience with the methods and information I learned, it seemed that many of the clinicians I interacted with did not use or even believe in a multifaceted, evidence-based approach to practice.

 

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Therapeutic Use of Soap: 7 Tips for Improving Your OT Hygiene Routine

Therapeutic Use of Soap (1).png

TRUE STORY: Due to God’s wonderful sense of humor, on the same day I was writing this post I experienced a perfect example of just how fun (and by fun I mean ABSOLUTELY GROSS) it is to work with kids in any setting!


I knew when I chose this career that working in healthcare – especially as an occupational therapist – would put me in close proximity to many unsanitary situations. However, my academic and professional experiences in schools, SNFs, hospitals, and retirement communities have given me a new perspective on the importance of maintaining a hygienic therapeutic environment as an OT.

Earlier this year, a kindergartner at one of my schools had a bowel accident and came down to my room for help because the school nurse and social worker were gone. I asked him to go into the bathroom and get cleaned up while I found him some clean clothes to change into. When he was done, he opened the door and tried to hand me his heavily soiled underwear and pants. I quickly ushered him back into the bathroom, where I reminded him to flush the toilet (which he did with his hand) and helped him bag up his soiled clothes. When we were done, he tried to leave the bathroom without washing his hands. When I asked him to wash his hands, he got some soap, quickly rinsed it off, dried his hands and left. And for all I know, all the rest of my little friends are doing the exact same thing before they come to see me!

This was an extreme example of just how dirty a job as a school-based OT can be, but for many clinicians this sort of situation is a regular occurrence. And for many others, it may be an everyday occurrence that they’re just not aware of…So no matter where you work, hygiene for yourself and your clients is crucial.

Much of this information will probably come as second nature to OT practitioners working in hospital environments, as there are generally much stricter sanitation regulations than there are in other settings. But even if you work in settings where you aren’t regularly providing interventions related to toileting or other self-care tasks that might put you in direct contact with bodily fluids, good hygiene is still something you can promote in in your daily practice.

After the jump, read 6 tips that demonstrate how making changes to the person, environment, or occupation can help clean up bad hygiene habits and improve your therapy practice!

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