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Forensic Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists in the National Forensic Mental Health Service (NFMHS) work in multi-disciplinary teams to provide specialist services which enable service users to achieve health, well-being and optimum function in their daily lives. The Occupational Therapy team is continuously growing and plays an integral part in multidisciplinary teams and the overarching model of care in the NFMHS.

Occupational Therapists are involved in every part of a service user’s journey, from pre-admission assessments, on-going assessment and intervention through to discharge. In addition the team work with service users residing in the community and within a community day centre. Service users are treated on a one to one basis or in groups. We aim to enable our service users to achieve health, wellbeing and life satisfaction through participation in occupation.   For example, OT’s assist service users to become more self aware of, and develop their interpersonal capacity, pro-social values, meaningful routines, their personal identity and skills for meaningful life participation. Our core outcomes include quality of life, functioning and personal recovery. Our core values are underpinned by a recovery approach, which promotes that central tenets of recovery in a person’s everyday life include connectedness, hope, identity, meaningful roles and empowerment. 

Forensic occupational therapy is an evolving area of practice and the OT service in the NFMHS routinely conducts research and service evaluations to improve the evidence base for OT forensic mental health care. The department has recently published research focusing on quality of life and there are other research projects currently underway. As it is a national service, the service offers student placements to all of the Universities across Ireland.

Our treatments encompass a wide scope and draw from a number of theoretical frameworks. The OT’s here have several tools at their disposal to promote meaningful occupational engagement, such as profession-specific assessments and the ability to tailor intervention to individual occupational needs. Examples of some of our treatments include:

  • Meaningful occupation
  • Functional skills training
  • Lifestyle design
  • Re-motivation
  • Cognitive skills training (e.g. problem solving)
  • Sensory modulation
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Community reintegration
  • Psycho-educational interventions
  • Risk reduction therapies and positive risk taking
  • Healthy living
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Management and adaptation of therapeutic environment

See some of our most recent research at https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-1605-2