Occupational Therapy Online Surgeries – a Test of Change

“Never be afraid to try something new”


“The public and people living with dementia are looking for information to help them stay well at home and build their resilience.  They also want to understand how Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) can help them and how they can access their services, levels of each of which are currently inconsistent.” (Connecting People, Connecting Support, 2017)

Connecting People, Connecting Support (Alzheimer Scotland, 2017) outlines a key ambition around Enhanced Access to the expertise of the AHPs for people living with dementia and their supporters.  Tests of change and the use of relevant technology are highlighted as two examples of how to enable this.



We have just started to test the method of Online Surgeries as an option for Enhanced Access to AHP expertise for people living with dementia.  The Surgeries are held using the NHS Attend Anywhere platform, which enables video call access.  People require internet access, Google Chrome browser, a laptop, smartphone or tablet (there is the option to check that this all works before linking in to the Surgery).    We were relieved to find that this is straightforward to use and further information can be found here:


Colleagues within Alzheimer Scotland were already trying Online Surgeries and it was useful to hear about their experiences.  We arranged for hour-long surgeries to take place once a month, starting with Occupational Therapy hosting.


We have considered how to raise awareness of the Online Surgeries and realise the importance of clarity around the purpose.  The Surgery is not a specific Occupational Therapy Service but a way for people living with dementia to easily access expertise and signposting.  Methods of promotion include the Alzheimer Scotland website:

“If you are interested in finding out more about using your strengths and abilities to enhance your daily living or if you want more information around how to adapt to your everyday environment then all you need to do is log in to the [Occupational Therapy] surgery”


We use twitter to promote details of the Surgery and also link to the tweets related to Occupational Therapy, which are shared via the @AHPDementia Twitter account.

Further info about the AHP twitter project can be found here:


Examples of tweets we quote and link in the Surgery include:

Tweet 1:


Consider the brightness of the bulbs within the home, small changes can support someone with #dementia to see memory prompts and instructions aiding independence #withOTuCAN

Are you living with #dementia? Would you like to talk more about how small changes in the home can aid independence? Join me for an Occupational Therapy online surgery……..

Tweet 2:


Occupational Therapists CAN support a person with #dementia to improve their function through compensatory techniques.  This can promote sustained engagement in personally meaningful tasks #withOTuCAN

Are you living with #dementia? Would you like to talk more about ways to help engagement in meaningful activities? Join me for an Occupational Therapy online surgery…….

Next Steps:

It is still early days with this improvement project but there has already been a wealth of learning captured during the initial PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycles.  We have identified further change ideas, which will be implemented moving forward with the Online Surgeries and we will share progress. There has been much support around what is being tried with the Occupational Therapy Online Surgeries and we are keen to continue to engage with people around any experiences and ideas.

The next Occupational Therapy Online Surgery is scheduled for Thursday 02 May at 2pm.  Please tell people about this and look out for further promotion.

‘Thank you’ to everyone involved in progressing this test of change so far.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to know more, please contact:

Alison McKean, AHP Post Diagnostic Lead, Alzheimer Scotland

Email: amckean@alzscot.org      Twitter: @AliAHPDem



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