‘Helping people to live, not exist’
Which brings me back to reflections on my lecture, and the power of words. I summed up my lecture with suggestions for the profession on ‘Moving Concepts – changing language’
- – Promoting independence – or preventing dependence
- – From mortality to morbidity
- – From optimal functioning to lifestyle restriction
- – Promoting integration – or agents for social inclusion
All these years down the line, the Royal College has nailed it – Helping people to live, not exist
Short and powerful, the one big thought you would want to take away from any Casson lecture. What we would want for ourselves and our nearest and dearest; what we should want for our patients and clients.
That seems a compelling paradigm, and one the profession should champion: try selling it to Matt Hancock, or at the very least use it argue for more honorable ‘outcomes’ of health and social care interventions. Stop counting beans and start counting users’ satisfaction with their lifestyles and levels of social inclusion?
Occupational therapists know only too well that failures in the NHS – through the absence of adequate rehabilitation, or poorly planned hospital discharge, have a knock-on consequence on social care, and on the welfare and benefits system. Failures in social care, by (for example) assessing dependence rather than potential for independence, have costs to the social care and benefits systems. Most importantly, these failures have costs to our service users in terms of lost opportunities to engage in occupations of their choice and participate in society as they would wish.
Occupational therapy really is good for the Health and the Wealth of the nation
Delivering the Casson Memorial lecture was a huge privilege and I have to admit, also a huge pleasure; the appreciation of one’s peers is beyond measure.
Thank you friends at the Elizabeth Casson Trust for giving me this opportunity to reflect.