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Alternative group therapy activities

By Jennifer Langston, Lead Occupational Therapist, at Priory Oak Vale Gardens.

Occupational therapy (OT) supports people who may find certain activities difficult to do. Therapists help people to identify the difficulties that they face while doing these everyday tasks, which can include self-care or shopping trips. An occupational therapist will help people to find practical solutions – which can include adapting activities and using specialist equipment – to enable people to be as independent as possible and to live more fulfilling lives.

The OT team at Oak Vale Gardens facilitate a programme of therapeutic activities in order to promote:

  • Social interaction
  • Physical development
  • Sensory development
  • Improved mood
  • Increased confidence

The OT programme includes alternative group activities, which have been shown in studies of people with neurological needs to vastly improve quality of life.

Examples of therapeutic programmes that service users at Oak Vale Gardens can benefit from include:

  • Breakfast group
  • Home safari
  • Rhythm reaction

Breakfast group

The weekly OT-led group encourages independent meal preparation; the group is tailored to individual goals and abilities, and service users are encouraged to choose their own breakfast options. This group encourages social interaction, lifts mood and is enjoyable – feedback on the breakfast group has been positive.

Home safari – animal assisted therapy  

The home safari has proven to be very popular with our service users. Once a month, the OT team arrange for some exotic visitors to come to the centre – from tortoises and lizards, to skunks and meerkats – and the group allows service users to interact on a one-on-one basis with the animals. They are able to hold and pet them, providing them with a sense of connectedness with the animals.

The animal assisted therapy is a fun and interactive way for service users to improve their:

  • Mobility
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Sensation

The interaction with animals helps people to address their perceptual and cognitive deficits, reduces stress, increases self-esteem, improves motivation and develops social skills.

Rhythm reaction – therapeutic drumming

We have only recently commenced the rhythm reaction group at Oak Vale Gardens and it is already proving to be fun and beneficial for all involved.

Rhythm reaction provides an outlet and channel for people to realise their potential, and aims to improve their self-esteem, confidence, creativity and communication skills.

Each member of the group is provided with their own drum, and is encouraged to participate in drumming activities which promote concentration, social interaction and fun. Rhythm and counting activities are used, and familiar music encourages the group to work together and to take turns.

Oak Vale Gardens

Priory Oak Vale Gardens provides specialist rehabilitation care for people with an acquired brain injury (ABI) or progressive neurological conditions (PNCs). Our programmes are tailored and developed specifically to cater for our service users' individual needs. Oak Vale Gardens is a purpose-built, welcoming centre, which is part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Rehabilitation Network.

To find out more about our OT programme, please contact Oak Vale Gardens directly on 0151 220 2708.

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