OT Insights from Sweden

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

The article has been a sort of 'OT Updates', as you can find here on the Hub, where I’ve been writing about news in occupational therapy, from a Swedish perspective. From new laws, new findings in science and other news relating to us OTs.

Jan 08, 2019

Green thumb therapy

A few months have now past since Black Friday, the holidays are over and all the gifts have been opened. All the early reports I’ve seen seams to say that even this year we broke all the records for buying new things during this part of the year.

By now news of how 2019 will change the future with new gadgets, new technology and new science are already filling up my retinas. Our consumerism doesn’t really seem too slow down now does it?

A couple of weeks back I came across a news article about how “Green thumb therapy succeeds where other fail”. A great short piece about how occupational therapy is used to engage patients in gardening. My last post looked at a thesis about physical activity among older people in assisted living facilities. Where, unfortunately, many of our elderly don’t get enough physical activity during the day. This thesis mostly looked at the indoor environment and what it offered the elderly as a mean for being active during the days. When I read about assisted living most news are about how robots will change healthcare. How robotic assistants will keep our elderly company. Sadly I don’t read so much about how elderly get to explore the outdoors.

In Sweden “green therapy” is really growing. Even though some newly built assisted living facilities have some sort of garden we mostly talk about “green therapy” as a measure for people who struggle with returning to work. Or for people with mental illness.

And all I can’t think about is why we don’t use gardening more? Why we don’t spent more time outdoors with our elderly? Why most of the time we look at new technology that can help us with this or that? Im not saying us occupational therapists shouldn’t participate in the future of new gadgets and aids. On the contrary, I welcome it. Because the development for new tools and gadgets is inevitable and will absolutely help with eg. our working environment.

But sometimes I think we really need to take a step back and read an article like the one linked bellow. About how simple gardening helps people be more active. How it makes them feel happier and makes them open up more. How being outside is the motivation for getting up out of bed in the morning.

For us on the north side of the globe winter is upon us. But like the saying goes “There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”



#arbetsterapi #arbetsterapeut #arbetsterapisverige #rehabilitering #theothub #occupationaltherapy #occupationaltherapist

Nov 23, 2018

Physical activity among older people in assisted living facilities

This is a long awaited thesis, on my part. At work the discussion about a reablement and letting our patients be as active as one can be is always a topic.

It might seem easy and should be considered as self-evident, that even though you are living in in assisted living facilities you should have the possibility to participate in different physical activities every day. But this is not always the case as this thesis shows. One should know that there are specific recommendations for people living in assisted living facilities.

In the 4 different articles we can read that:

  1. Older people and staff do not always define the concept of physical activity. It is important for the staff to be aware of these different definitions. With such awareness, staff can create activities that the residents want to do and thus meet their individual needs in their daily lives.

  2. Residents are not involved in determining which activities should be available in the facilities. But if you are able to walk around on your own and the facilities have a gym/exercise room you have more opportunities.

  3. It was accepted that the residents’ individual needs cannot be met. Furthermore culture and norms might determine how the staffs acts.

  4. (Be prepared to have your OT mind blown) The environment play a big role on the possibility of physical activity in the living facilities. Among the staff and residents there was an acceptance that not all environments in the assisted living facilities were optimal.

  5. Even though the thesis mainly focus on physical activities and physiotherapists there is much interdisciplinary knowledge we can use as OT’s. I know the thesis is in Swedish but there is an English summary of 8 pages with lots of good sources. You can find the thesis in the link below.

Have a great weekend!




#arbetsterapi #arbetsterapeut #arbetsterapisverige #rehabilitering #arbetsterapi #arbetsterapeut #arbetsterapisverige #rehabilitering #theothub #occupationaltherapy #occupationaltherapist

Nov 14, 2018

Patients’ Experiences of Accessing Their Medical Records

We all are affected when it comes to writing and keeping journals of patients' care.

In Sweden, we occupational therapists are, by law, required to write a journal and keep medical records. But how we do this is not as clear as one would hope.

We have 21 regions (Public health care) and 290 municipalities (commune healthcare), who all choose which program to use and none of these programs seems to communicate that well with each other. We also have to give all the information necessary to the patient, to make them involved in their own care (e.g. explain different treatments and why results may vary, inform what type of wheelchairs we can provide, show what different colours the walking aids come in and let the patient choose...and so on).

One way to give patients a chance to get involved is to give access to all information and medical records.

In 2012, Region Uppsala gave its 300,000 citizens access to their medical records through a patient portal “Journalen”. Since then, more and more regions followed and now it’s a national service (although private companies and the healthcare services in the municipalities are not get connected to the service). Although I must add, this wasn’t easy. Many complaints from different caregivers and worried staff have been seen in the media this last couple of years. Despite all of this worrying, it seems patients like this service.

A series of studies are being conducted by DOME - to see patients' experiences of accessing their medical records, how different patients use this service and finally a study on the contrast between the worrying health care apparatus and the patients' experiences.

The study was conducted by a survey, whom 2587 patients from all over Sweden initiated.

The majority of respondents reported to use the service “Journalen” about once a month.

The top three reasons for using it

  • To receive an overview of one’s own medical history and treatment

  • To follow up on doctors' visits

  • To become more involved in one’s own care

The top three reasons why patients believe that “Journalen” is important

  • It makes them feel more informed

  • It improves their communication with care

  • It results in a better understanding of one’s own health status

If you want to read more, you can find the link to the full text below:


Have a nice day!

Nov 8, 2018

What to do when you retire?

Have you ever thought about what you will do the day you retire? As it seems this is one key factor for good health after you retire from work.

This week BJOT gives you free access to their articles. There I stumbled on the study ”The influence of work on the transition to retirement: A qualitative study” takes a look at the transitioning phase from work to retirement through the eyes of occupational therapy.

It’s a small study with only 11 participants, but since we are getting older and more and more discussions arise on how people should and could work in a later age, I find this study worth reading.

The authors found three themes “preparation”, “transition” and “retired” relating to the retirement stage and the volitional processes from MOHO.

How does this article affect us OTs? Well we all focus on engaging our patients in meaningful activities. By assisting in adjusting to life transition (work-to-retirement) we can do just that. Either by helping people find meaningful activities outside of work, or by adapting the workplace so the environment is adjusted for the person.

Well this is just the short version of the article so if you find this interesting be sure to click the link bellow. The full text article should be available at least until this Sunday.


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