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Mental Health Occupational Therapy Services in Acute Care

SaCora Abshire


Course Length: 2.0 contact hours (.2 AOTA CEU)
PRIMARY Presentation Category: Mental Health
SECONDARY Presentation Category: Acute Care/Adults
Intended Audience: Introductory
Short Abstract:

Therapists will learn and apply concepts through lecture, discussion, and case study. OTs will learn foundational information: theories, frames of reference, and MH diagnosis. OTs will discuss evidence-based practice, assessments, and interventions. Along with practice application to case studies.

Full Abstract:

Occupational therapy has its roots in mental health and can fulfill a unique role on the care team for individuals experiencing severe mental illness.  Unfortunately, this can often be overlooked specifically in the acute care setting.  During this course, both evidence on the need for OT in mental health settings and the application of mental health services in all settings will be discussed. This course will utilize lecture along with discussion to provide education on recent research regarding this area of practice. 


Foundational knowledge required to guide OT practice such as frames of reference and models are imperative to OT practice.  Thus, the Recovery Model will be emphasized as it is heavily utilized in psychiatric rehabilitation and applies to OT scope of practice. Education on foundational knowledge will continue through reviewing common psychiatric diagnosis such as mood disorder, personality disorders, and psychosis. 


Once foundational knowledge is established, the session will focus on OT service delivery with discussion on optimal chart review for determining any mental health OT-based needs during acute care admission.  Discussion will continue to address evidence-based practice assessments: a thorough occupational profile, adolescent/adult sensory profile, coping skills inventory, and Allen’s Cognitive Level Screening. Practitioners will then apply this through task analysis and development of measurable goals focusing on occupation-based deficits, thus facilitating a patient-centered plan of care. Occupational therapy service delivery will be addressed further through discussion of intervention options including sensory integration, cognitive remediation/rehabilitation, and skills training (coping skills, money management, medication management, social skills, sleep hygiene, routines/habits, and life balance).


Finally, to facilitate a cohesive learning experience practitioners will complete two case studies.  This will allow for immediate application of newly learned skills and information to facilitate necessary critical thinking. The first case study focuses on an individual that was admitted for sepsis in conjunction of having unmanage schizophrenia. The second case study focuses on an individual that was admitted for alcohol detox to the ICU with undiagnosed and unaddressed mental health needs seeking sobriety. The session will include time for questions to address any areas that need further clarification and/or allow for group discussion.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will be able to identify 3 specific roles OT provides with acute care mental health treatment
    2. Participants will be able to discuss an Occupational Therapy Evaluation Process for mental health-based deficits including: attaining an occupational profile, determining appropriate assessments, and writing measurable goals.
    3. Participants will be able to identify 3 evidence-based interventions to address mental health-based deficits.
Educational Value:

Occupational therapists can fulfill a unique role on the care team for individuals experiencing severe mental illness, specifically in the acute care setting. This profession can address occupation-based impairments that otherwise are unable to be optimally addressed in the acute care setting. Providing a holistic approach in addressing an individual’s ability to successfully engage in desired occupations. Identifying if the limitation(s) are spiritual-based, emotion-based, cognitive-based, environmental-based, physical-based, or a combination that is negatively impacting an individual’s performance skills causing occupational deprivation. Directly addressing the barriers impacting occupational engagement can have a significant positive impact on an individual’s psychological rehabilitation. Such as promoting the healthy development of new skills, strategies, and adaptations with successful habitual implementations during engagement in daily life.

Company Affiliated With: St. Luke’s Health System
Financial Disclosure: Employee of: St. Luke’s Health System
Non-Financial Disclosure e.g. Member of; or, No Non-Financial Disclosures: AOTA/IOTA

Online registration is now closed.

Onsite registration is available Friday, October 20th 8:00-9:00 AM and Saturday, October 21st 7:30-8:30 AM, at the registration table. Please have a credit or debit card available to complete the virtual registration, no cash or check payments will be taken.