Tom Swinson

Tom qualified as an occupational therapist in 2018. Upon qualifying, he worked in community mental health before taking up a position in Hertfordshire County Council’s East Herts and Broxbourne Adult Disability Team, where he works with individuals with physical and/or learning disabilities.

Prior to Tom’s occupational therapy career, he had undertaken a BSc degree in Psychology and an MSc in Memory and its Disorders. He then worked in care, and following this, as an NHS R&D researcher for several years, predominantly focusing on psychosocial interventions for people with dementia. The outputs of some of Tom’s research involvement can be found on his ResearchGate page:

Tom is the Research in Practice Team (RiPT) Lead in Hertfordshire County Council as part of the SCRIPT research study. He is looking to focus his research on the experiences of occupational therapy for people with learning disabilities and their carers, and will also endeavour to use these experiences to develop good practice guidance for occupational therapy provision in this area.

My research project

Social Care Occupational Therapy: Communication, Collaboration and Outcomes when Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities and their Informal Carers

There is currently little information in the literature regarding how occupational therapists in social care work with

adults with learning disabilities and their informal carers.

Made up of professionals and experts by experience, the research team identified the need to focus on to what extent social care occupational therapists support communication and collaboration as part of their work. The team also highlighted the need to explore to what extent social care occupational therapy makes a difference to adults with learning disabilities and informal carers.

To do this, the research team want to discuss and document the experiences of adults with learning disabilities,

informal carers and social care occupational therapists. For adults with learning disabilities and informal carers, the method of discussion may vary depending on their preferred way of communicating. An interview topic guide has been created to guide these discussions in whichever form they take. Focus groups will be undertaken with social care occupational therapists in order to gather their views, using a separate topic guide.

It is hoped that this work will develop the evidence base for social care occupational therapy, and identify strengths and areas of improvement in working with adults with learning disabilities and informal carers, with the potential to positively impact current practice.