Occupational therapy intervention for people with affective and personality disorders

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust

  • Led by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
  • Implemented in adult community mental health services in the London boroughs of Kingston and Richmond.
  • Aimed to improve outcomes, social functioning and quality of life of people with affective and personality disorders.
  • Tested an innovative occupational therapy intervention to enable individuals to regain independence, look after themselves and participate in their community.

This project led by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust involved implementing a post-discharge occupational therapy intervention that supports people to take a more active role in their health and care.

Personality and affective disorders account for 71% of the mental health ward population in Kingston and Richmond. People with these disorders may have difficulty establishing routines in self-care and leisure, which impacts negatively on their mental health and quality of life.

This project tested an occupational therapy intervention with people with affective or personality disorders to find out whether it could improve self-management, as measured by social functioning and their quality of life. It included strategies to understand an individual’s strengths and help them develop skills in looking after themselves and taking part in their community.

The project used GLOW (Graduating Living skills Outside the Ward), an intervention that was originally developed for people with psychosis. It starts with weekly visits focusing on the enablement of self-care activities; followed by fortnightly visits in the home and then the community, as relevant to the individual’s goals.

Three occupational therapists tested GLOW with 19 service users post-discharge. Changes in outcome measure scores demonstrated that participants increased the number of community and self-care activities carried out and used crisis services less. This shows a reduced reliance on mental health services and an increase in self-management of daily life following the intervention.

The main challenge the project team faced was around recruitment to the intervention, which was initially slow.

Contact details

For further information about the project, please email Mary Morley at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

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