Self Soothe Box Education - An Occupational Therapy Intervention for Social Prescribers
Written by Kayleigh Wain
During a role emerging placement within the Nottinghamshire Alliance Training Hub, an Occupational Therapy (OT) Degree Apprentice (Kayleigh Wain) provided education to Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs) to implement within Primary Care Networks (PCNs).
You can download a printable PDF poster version of the Self Soothe Box Education information.
1. Scoping the service
The intervention aimed to align with NATH’s core functions defined by the NHS Long Term Plan (NHS, 2019).
The aim was to provide education to the primary care workforce to support effective delivery of healthcare needs within the community.
2. Audience identification
Social Prescribing Link Workers (SPLWs) were identified to be the recipients of the intervention.
The 'SPLW Delivery Meeting' reported that they were struggling to cope and identify interventions to use in response to an increase in complex mental health referrals. SPLWs had received education on OT assessments, but had no current knowledge on OT interventions.
SPLWs received OT based education to build upon their OT knowledge, and received a printable resource on:
Applying the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) model in practice.
The process on how and when to implement Self Soothe Boxes for patients experiencing anxiety and depression.
Recommendations of potential items to include relating to the 5 senses.
The benefits of Self Soothe Boxes to promote emotional regulation.
4. Relevance to occupational therapy practice
The education was prevalent due to OT being under-utilised in primary care (Lyons- Maris, 2019), with a focus on social prescribing to reduce pressures on general practices (Bradley & Scott, 2021). The lack of OT involvement highlights the prevalence of role emerging placements, to support link workers on how to address barriers to engagement (Thew, Bell & Flanagan, 2017), by linking meaningful activity to health (Garside, 2020). The impact of providing OT education and evidence base for social prescribing can develop and influence future practice of social prescribing (RCOT, 2020).
Due to COVID-19, the education was delivered by a variety of methods including a face-to-face session and virtually via Teams.
A 7 minute presentation for 'Mental Health Week 2021' was delivered nationally during a social prescribing webinar via Teams live and was accessed by over 400 link workers.
6. Occupational therapy concepts
PEO Model: This model encompasses a client centred approach (Law et al.1996), by highlighting that the interaction of the person, environment and occupation facilitates participation. This framework was essential to discuss, due to it being a new criteria in the social prescribing competency framework. The promotion of these findings and strategies helps to overcome the barriers to engagement in meaningful activity (Connolly et al., 2019, Fieldhouse, Bryant & Creek, 2014).
Flow: It was encouraged that items in the box should be meaningful and personalised to the individual to increase occupational flow (Wright et al., 2014). Flow promotes an individual to be immersed in an activity, that allows them to escape their thoughts for a moment, and encourages safe coping strategies (Reid, 2011).
All SPLWs received a Google form to collate the effectiveness of the education, and whether they would apply Self Soothe Boxes in practice. In total 20 link workers completed the evaluation:
95% reported they wanted further OT education on interventions
95% felt that the Self Soothe Box education was engaging
100% reported they would implement Self Sooth Boxes in practice
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