An independence at home service: the potential and the pitfalls for occupational therapy services

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The United Kingdom Government has signalled its desire to change the emphasis of the support provided by social care services to older people from simply assisting people to remain living in the community to increasing their ability to function independently. Local authorities charged with implementing this agenda have responded with a range of changes.

This study evaluates the Independence at Home service of a large United Kingdom metropolitan social services department, which was staffed by occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants and based with local area adult social work teams. The study draws upon comparisons with other services; interviews with service users and staff; and data gathered using an amended version of the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure on changes to service users' functioning.

The findings suggest that such an approach can potentially boost service users' independence and functioning, but also reveal the difficulties of running such a service in the context of other constraints. These impediments need to be overcome if the Government's ambitious prevention agenda is to become a reality.
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  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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