Implementing an occupational therapy specific mental health intervention in a multi-professional context – the case of Balancing Everyday Life (BEL)

Scand J Occup Ther. 2021 Nov 5:1-13. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2021.1998608. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The occupation-based intervention Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) was found effective under controlled conditions but should also be studied in a natural clinical practice context.

AIM: The aim was to study the implementation process of BEL when provided in a multi-professional mental health team. The focus was particularly on how BEL was received and functioned.

METHODS: This qualitative study was based on manifest content analysis and used semi-structured telephone interviews with 13 occupational therapists and three managers.

RESULTS: Three themes were identified: ‘1 – Conditions and opportunities in the setting’, ‘2 – Putting the BEL intervention into practice’ and ‘3 – Experiences of practicing BEL’. BEL was a welcomed alternative, as stated by managers and occupational therapists. The team helped to recruit BEL participants, but the occupational therapists had to give rigorous information to team members and prospective participants for this to work. The social, physical and political contexts were essential for the implementation.

CONCLUSIONS: Successful implementation of an occupational therapy-specific intervention such as BEL requires a reasonable match between existing team policies and the underpinnings of the intervention. It is crucial to repeat information to all stakeholders and make the intervention a matter of urgency for the whole team.

PMID:34739360 | DOI:10.1080/11038128.2021.1998608

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