#15 “The spirits are everywhere, all around us, they are right here between you and me”.

“The spirits are everywhere, all around us,
they are right here between you and me” 

For a post-grad paper in 2014 I needed to research the Maori perspective of spirituality and health for an assignment (for those of you reading who are not from New Zealand, the Maori are the people native to New Zealand).

After several fruitless days of reading I decided to go to the source and meet with my organisation’s Kaumatua (a respected Maori Elder) and ask my questions about Maori culture.
Our Kaumatua is a kind gentleman for who there are no dumb questions, where questions of ‘but why?’ are welcomed as an opportunity to build therapists knowledge.

I had been struggling to understand the concept of the spirit world that I had been reading about, and our Kaumatua explained it in the way described above. I love his explanation and it gave me an ‘Ah ha’ moment and helped me to understand more fully what I have been reading.

I think we should take advantage of our access to cultural support workers to build our insight and understanding of the cultures of the people that we work with.

14: Conferences

I am relatively new to conferences with only having been to two – WFOT in 2014 and APOTC in 2015.

Both conferences have been great opportunities to learn about settings that we would not normally hear about, opportunities to meet like minded OT’s and talk about Occupational Therapy all day every day!!!

I was fortunate enough to meet up with several OT’s I met at WFOT and catch up and talk OT!


Met this lovely OT again from Osaka, Yoshimi Yuri a lecturer at Kansai University of Welfare Services.

APOTC – Day one afternoon session

Relationship Between Self-awareness and Employment Outcome in People with Cognitive Dysfunction: By Keisuke Kawahito and Emi Ito.

  • Important factors for employment – interaction between personal factors and self-awareness
  • Self awareness  – as a hierarchy, has evolved.
  • Postulated a like between self-awareness and employment outcome
  • Importance of insight and problem solving in ability of people post injury to return to pre-accident work or locating a new job.
  • OT role proposed to evaluate self-awareness and providing interventions for build self awareness especially in strategy generation – be an external assist to help our patients build self awareness.

Navigating Many Worlds: Occupational therapists providing short term loan equipment:  By Marie Chester and Clare Hocking.

  • Acute hospital loan equipment provision both rental and loan pool sourced.
  • Highlight sources or tension / implications for OT leadership
  • Identified a missing link between CMDHB and MoH strategies / approaches. CMDHB documents seemed to focus on fiscal responsibility and decreasing incidence of key disabilities versus living well with a chronic disability.
  • We also need to balance the increasing expectations of consumers with the limitations of funding and equipment availability.
  • How does an OT on the floor balance strike a between all of those things…
    • Get political – know the DHB policies and get involved in decision making projects and bring OT views to this.
    • Alternative interpretations to health – build OT focus on occupation
    • Build strategic links with others looking to make a change.
    • Become a navigator… Help therapists navigate their way through the equipment quagmire
  • Question why or why not to issue equipment……
  • Be understanding, we cant please everyone all the time 🙂

Turning knowledge into practice: An exploratory study into the use of PRPP in Aotearoa New Zealand practice: By Frank Lu and Linda Robertson.

  • Key question being do therapists use PRPP  after training, and what factors influence the uptake of???
  • influences on OTs using PPRP in practice post training
  • Descriptive / exploratory method via an on-line survey
  • PRPP is predominantly used in community and mental health settings
  • Strengths of the assessment – clear communication, occupational focussed
  • Limitations – report writing seems time consuming, hard to describe to those not trained.
  • Influences on use: Time constraints, opportunities to apply in practice, managerial support, length of time since training.
  • How do we go forward? Suggested speaking to our managers to get time allocated / opportunities for OT’s post-training to consolidate and build confidence and apply to practice after the course.

Occupational Therapy: the promise and paradox.  By Dr Grace O’Sullivan.

  • Cites the guardian article ‘punching above their weight’
  • Medical model has a narrow focus with cause and effect type approach
  • Paradox  presented – we have allowed medical professionals to define what is considered to be good health (Gawande, 2014)
  • People want a life worth living with choices / activities with meaning.
  • For people with Dementia it isn’t the detail of the visit / experience that sticks with them – its about the good feeling that will remain, even if the cause fades or is forgotten…
  • The shifting paradigms of healthcare – call for integrated care and inter-professional care
  • Grace shared a lovely story about a client she worked with too.

Please note the full slides of each presentation will be available after APOTC is over!

APOTC Opening ceremony:

The morning dawned bring and clear in Rotorua, the steam rising from the grates in the street as I drove the 5 minutes from my humble hostel to the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.

The opening of the Congress started at 9am with the powhiri with a formal Maori welcome to the congress and a selection of Maori cultural performances.


I had chills with the epic haka:


Poi’s, songs, and a haka from a local kapa haka group welcomed us to New Zealand and Maori Culture – I loved it!