Independent Occupational Therapist
'Nursing & Residential Care'
Many of the articles published in NRC from
2004-to February 2007 form the basis for my book:-
independence and activity in older people' , which can be ordered
from Quay Books or Waterstones.
Some articles can also be downloaded in PDF format. To view the PDF
files you will need the free Acrobat Reader.
To download click
May 2017 Vol 19 No 5 (209-211)
Optimising quality of life for people living with arthritis
Arthritis affects approximately 50% of the population from the age
of 65 years, making it a common condition within the care home.
Julie Swann explains how arthritis affects the joints and how care
staff can assist residents to regain function and independence.
April Vol 19 No 4 (191-193)
The value of exercise in managing arthritis
Over recent years, there has been a focus on encouraging exercise
for older people, particularly those who suffer from arthritic conditions.
Exercise is known to have many benefits for people of all ages, and
even minimal exercise can help to maintain a joint's range of movement
and suppleness. Physical activity can reduce pain for people with
arthritis, helping maintain mobility and independence. However, it
is well worth noting that, for some people, care should be taken on
the type and length of an exercise programme. This article explains
how to encourage exercise and when to restrict exercise.
March 2017 Vol 19 No 3 (130)
Pass on the salt: low sodium diets
Guest Editorial by Julie Swann on why reducing salt in a diet is important.
October Vol 17 No 10 (562 - 568)
Hand dysfunction and managing daily living activities
This article, the last of a series on the hand, describes how hand
dysfunction affects a residents level of independence and dignity.
In particular, how care staff can help a resident improve hand function
and maintain their independence.
September Vol 17 No 9 (502-506)
Hand dysfunction: encouraging development
This second article looks into how the hand functions and suggests
that if care staff understand how dexterity can be affected by various
conditions, they can anticipate difficulties that residents may have
with general, everyday activities.
August Vol 17 No 8 (444-448)
The world at your fingertips: how the hand functions
Hands can achieve a multitude of positions, by simply moving the fingers
and thumb towards or away from the palm. This article explores how
the hand achieves a wide range of movement and the functions that
it can perform.
July Vol 16 No 7 (387 - 391)
Understanding multifactorial fall risks
By understanding multifactorial fall risk factors, care staff
will be able to identify residents who are at greater risk of falling
and put safeguards in place. This article looks at factors that can
cause a fall and why some people are more likely to sustain injuries
January Vol 15 No 1 (41 - 44)
A good night's rest: identifying sleep disorders
This is part one of a series discussing sleep disturbances, and
explains some of the problems that residents may have and outlines
the different classifications of sleep problems
February Vol 15 No 2 (92 - 96)
Respite at night: helping residents to sleep
Care staff can make a positive difference to sleep disorders.
This second article on sleep discusses ways care staff can address
sleeping problems to help to improve residents' quality of sleep.
July Vol 15 No 7 (488)
Prevent and manage falls in the care home
The frequency of falls increases with age and frailty. This article
provides the top ten tips to prevent, manage and reduce falls in care
homes; and how to cut the cost of complications.
December Vol 15 No 12 (790 - 795)
Dementia and reminiscence: not just a focus on the past
This article explores the development of reminiscence as an activity
in the care home. It describes how care staff can facilitate memory
recall with residents by using person-centred methods.
April Vol 14 No 4 (195-143)
From pottery to plays: arts activities in the home
Engaging residents in creative activities can provide stimulation and enhance
physical and cognitive abilities. This article explains how staff can set up
recreational programmes for people with dementia.
March Vol 13 No 3 (141-143)
Understanding and identifying balance disorders
Everyday in care homes you will see signs of poor balance and
coordination, but how does it all work? This article explains why and how the
different balance problems occur.
April Vol 13 No 4 (193-195)
Managing impaired balance and coordination
This is the second of part of a series on balance. It provides practical
advice on how to help residents with poor balance and coordination.
May Vol 13 No 5 (219-221)
Managing dressing after a having a stroke
A stroke can cause a loss of physical function, sensory, perceptual and
cognitive deficits. These all affect the ability to get dressed. This article
looks at the processes involved in dressing and how care staff can assist
residents to dress.
September Vol 13 No 9 (446-447)
Practical care: how to enhance mealtime setups
Dining experiences can be enhanced if attention is paid to the ambience,
the décor, and how food is served. This article discusses how to apply
these principles and how care staff can help residents to manage feeding.
Vol 13 No 12 (598-601)
Helping residents who struggle to get dressed
Choosing clothing and getting dressed are
more than just tasks that care home staff help with. Ways that staff can make
a difference to a person's quality of life and independence are explained
January Vol 12 No 1 (41-44)
Gardens: enabling residents to continue their hobby
Altering ways of doing tasks can help residents take an active part in
gardening, particularly if raised beds and easier-to-manage gardening tools
February Vol 12 No 2 (89-92)
Gardening: adaptive techniques for care home residents
This article explains how care staff can help residents to enjoy gardening by
the adoption of different techniques, using DIY solutions and the provision
of some assistive equipment.
April Vol 12 No 4 (192-194)
Perception: making sense of it all
This article is part of a series on perception and explores how the brain
interprets information to enable us to respond meaningfully to it.
May Vol 12 No 5 (212-215)
Pain: causes effects and assessment
Pain should not be accepted as an inevitable consequence of ageing. This
article explores the causes and effects of pain, providing details of various
forms of pain-assessments.
June Vol 12 No 6 (298-300)
Perception series - non-standardised testing
This article contains practical advice on how observational skills and non-standardised
perceptual tests can play a vital role in assessing difficulties such as
apraxia and dyspraxia.
Care staff can help to identify the difficulties experienced by older people
and simple solutions, such as using of contrasting colours, can make a
July Vol 12 No 7 (330-336)
Breaking down barriers to bariatric care
The UK population is becoming obesogenic, creating a vast number of larger
This article outlines care for the heavier older person.
September Vol 12 No 9 (437-442)
Stiff, creaky, and in pain? First steps to better joint care
This article provides details on how care staff can help residents to keep
their bodies mobile and active.
September Vol 12 No 9 (448-450)
Follow the leader: safe negotiation of the environment
This article introduces practical ideas to care staff to help residents who
have perceptual problems to manage within their environment.
October Vol 12 No 10 (487-490)
When your approach to pain affects quality of life
This is the second part of a series on pain. It outlines treatments
available for sufferers and how pain management is linked to the individual's
level of ability and participation in activity.
January Vol 11 No 1:
An introduction to Reiki as an alternative therapy in care homes
Reiki is an alternative therapy that is gaining popularity in healthcare
settings in the UK.
This article introduces the principles of Reiki and how it can be used to
complement other treatments for older people in care.
February Vol 11 No 2:
Life-skill stations: tools for reminiscence and activity
Engaging in life-skill tasks can improve cognitive abilities, maintain
mobility and help residents to feel familiar in their new surroundings. This
article discusses life-skill stations as a method of reminiscence.
March Vol 11 No 3:
Preserving memories: using photographic images
Preserving images in alternative formats can offer an activity, as well as
providing an end-product that can add familiarity to a personalised space.
This article introduces some ideas for storing and presenting photographs.
April Vol 11 No 4:
Writing for publication: sharing ideas and information
Sometimes the hardest thing about writing an article is getting started. This
article introduces ideas and strategies for compiling an article for
May Vol 11 No 5:
Telling the story of creative writing: how did it start
Creative writing and story-telling are presented in many forms and are used
to engage and entertain people. This article explores the origins of creative
writing before looking at its use in the care of older people.
June Vol 11 No 6:
Creative writing in care homes: getting started
Writing undertaken in a group setting with the care home can increase
resident's self-esteem and encourage communication. This article discusses
the positive effects of this cost-effective activity and provides some ideas
on how to get started.
July Vol 11 No 7:
Creative writing: practical problems, practical solutions
The act of writing relies on fine motor skills and a good posture. It can,
therefore, become problematic for people with age-related conditions. This
article offers some practical advice.
August Vol 11 No 8:
Correct positioning: reducing the risk of pressure damage
Ensuring residents are seated or lying properly can play an important
role in reducing pressure damage. This article discusses the risks of bad
positioning, the avoidance of pressure ulcers and the principles of correct
positioning after a stroke.
September Vol 11 No 9: (PDF File 1.4MB)
Good positioning: the importance of posture
The way we sit, stand and walk has a long-term effect on our musculo-skeletal
system. This article discusses the effects of bad posture, and offers advice
on assisting resident to improve their posture and positioning.
October Vol 11 No 10:
The power of Pilates
This article provides an introduction to Pilates, a physical fitness system
that can be used to develop core muscle strength and flexibility, and
describes how it can be adapted to care home residents.
November Vol 11 No 11:
Understanding the role of occupational therapy
Occupational therapists work in hospitals, the community and many other
This article explores the training and role of occupational therapists,
concentrating on the services provided to care homes.
December Vol 11 No 12: (PDF File 0.3MB)
Gardens: inclusive designs for care home
Residents and visitors can enjoy outdoor living spaces whether they are in
the garden or inside a care home. This article explores garden features and
describes how to design well planned inclusive gardens.
January Vol 10 No 1:
Mechanics of vision and common visual impairments
This article, the first of three articles on sight and visual problems,
will examine the basic anatomy of vision and introduce some common visual
problems prevalent in people over 65 years of age.
February Vol 10 No 2:
Visual impairments: environmental considerations
This article provides practical tips to facilitate management of the
physical environment for residents, staff and visitors with visual problems.
March Vol 10 No 3:
Visual impairments: assistive devices
Ranges of equipment available for residents with visual
problems are highlighted.
April Vol 10 No 4:
Understanding visual and auditory loss
The problems encountered by people with deafblindness are introduced.
May Vol 10 No 5:
Dual sensory loss: daily living activities and the care home environment
Deafblindness is explored and performance of everyday daily living tasks can
be affected. The impact of the care home environment is discussed.
June Vol 10 No 6:
Fall prevention is everyone's responsibility
A fall can cause serious physical and psychological damage. The factors
involved in falling are discussed and the important role that staff can play
in preventing further falls and serious injuries.
July Vol 10 No 7:
Rhythm of life: understanding movement disorders
Physical activity can significantly enhance mobility and independence,
and improve qualify of life.
Disorders of movement and the interventions that can help maintain mobility
and rhythmic movement are discussed.
August Vol 10 No 8:
Rhythm of life: the impact of music on our lives
Music influences our lives and forms an integral part of our culture.
This article discusses the importance of considering what music may mean to
different people and how it may evoke memories and affect mood.
September Vol 10 No 9:
Rhythm of life: applying music to the care home setting
Using music in everyday activities can enhance mood and atmosphere within a
care home. This article explores ways that care staff can use music to
improve and maintain the well-being of residents.
October Vol 10 No 10:
The importance of personal mementoes for residents: jewellery
Many people entering care will bring personal pieces of jewellery, each with
unique meanings and significance. This article discusses the meanings which
jewellery may hold and how this can be integrated into care.
November Vol 10 No 11
Managing dressing problems in older adults in long-term care
Dressing can be tiring for those with cognitive and physical problems. This
discusses the role of care assistants and nurses in enabling residents to
dress, which helps maintain levels of independence and self-esteem.
December Vol 10 No 12 (PDF File 1.4MB)
Preserving memories: using reminiscence techniques
Reflecting on the past and sharing memories with others is an excellent way
of facilitating communication. This article discusses the application of some
reminiscence techniques and their positive effects on wellbeing.
January Vol 9 No 1:
Keeping mobile: Part two
Looking in more detail at the different types of walking appliances
February Vol 9 No 2:
Looking towards the future
Discussing new government policies and the role of telecare technology within
the care setting.
March Vol 9 No 3:
Reducing the risk of falls: Part one
Looking at how a fall can impact upon an individual and highlights some of
the factors that can increase the risk of such an incident.
April Vol 9 No 4:
Reducing the risk of falls: Part two
Examining the environmental factors and mobility problems that can contribute
to a fall.
May Vol 9 No 5:
Rheumatoid arthritis: when the body rebels against itself
Describes how rheumatoid arthritis affects functional abilities.
June Vol 9 No 6:
Rheumatoid arthritis: coping strategies
Outlines practical ways to enable sufferers to cope with pain and incapacity.
July Vol 9 No 7:
Osteoarthritis: when joints wear out
Explores the causes of osteoarthritis and offers practical advice.
August Vol 9 No 8:
Coping with osteoarthritis
Describes how care staff can enable residents to be as independent as
September Vol 9 No 9:
Good vibrations: detecting deafness
There are 9 million people in the UK who are deaf or hearing
impaired. In the first of a new series exploring hearing loss, the mechanics
of hearing are introduced.
October Vol 9 No 10:
Dangerous vibrations: hearing damage
Discussing environmental noise, preventing hearing damage, and a variety of
aids available to treat hearing loss.
November Vol 9 No 11:
Helpful vibrations: assistive devices in hearing loss
Specialist devices and alternative communication techniques, to overcome
problems caused by deafness, are explored.
December Vol 9 No 12:
Tinnitus: in search of silence
Treatments and interventions for this common auditory problem are considered.
January Vol 8 No 1:
Aiding recovery in the early days after a stroke
How care staff can help prevent secondary physical complications that may
occur in residents who have had a stroke.
February Vol 8 No 2:
Rehabilitation after stroke: How carers can help
The techniques therapists use to help people to regain a good movement
pattern following stroke and how care staff can make a positive difference.
March Vol 8 No 3:
Equipment and adaptations for helping stroke survivors
Explaining how teaching different techniques, adapting the environment and
using assistive equipment can all help.
April Vol 8 No 4:
Turning gardens into multisensory experiences
Looking beyond the provision of a basic garden in care homes and encouraging
the design of a safe outdoor environment that stimulates all senses.
May Vol 8 No 5:
Making gardening activities easier to manage
Exploring ways to make gardening easier for residents by the provision of
some assistive equipment and DIY solutions and the use of new techniques.
June Vol 8 No 6:
Cognitive quietening: Turning down the mind’s clock
The value of activities to help relaxation within a care home setting and
methods of helping people to relax.
July Vol 8 No 7:
Turning basic skin care into pampering sessions
By altering techniques of applying skin-care products, care staff can
transform basic care tasks into pampering time for residents.
August Vol 8 No 8:
Understanding multiple sclerosis
Outlines the impact of multiple sclerosis and offers some practical advice on
how to reduce the adverse effects of this progressive disease.
September Vol 8 No 9:
Living with multiple sclerosis
This article focuses on assistive devices and the principles of good designs
that enable people with multiple sclerosis to manage day-to-day activities.
September Vol 8 No 9:
The journey into care
Exploring factors that can aid the smooth transition into a residential care
October Vol 8 No 10:
Helping residents reminiscence: The role of the environment
How the environment can minimise or increase the impact of ageing and
November Vol 8 No 11:
Keeping up appearances
Advice on ways to help residents manage personal grooming tasks for
December Vol 8 No 12:
Keeping mobile: Part one
This article focusses on the range of mobility problems that residents
January Vol 7 No 1:
Making life easier: Improving access in care homes
Continuing the theme of access issues this article discusses how
care homes can improve residents’ lives and maintain levels of
independence by adopting a positive approach to the subject.
February Vol 7 No 2:
Equipment for living: The value of assistive devices
The use of equipment to help residents to achieve a greater degree of
The Single Assessment Process: An overview
What you need to know about this guidance and how it will impact on elderly
people and the key workers involved in their care.
March Vol 7 No 3:
Food for thought: Providing solutions to feeding problems
Suggestions on how to make mealtimes a pleasurable experience and ensure that
residents receive sufficient nutrition.
April Vol 7 No 4:
Keeping up appearances: Helping residents to dress
How we can help residents in care homes to be independent in this daily task
and make use of dressing aids.
May Vol 7 No 5:
When it’s hard to dress: Managing cognitive problems
Helping residents who are cognitively impaired, with useful tips for care
June Vol 7 No 6:
Coping with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
How parkinsonism affects residents and offers some practical ways of
overcoming problems with daily living.
July Vol 7 No 7:
Moving with a purpose in Parkinson’s disease
More practical assistance for people with Parkinson’s disease, showing
how movement patterns and general levels of activities can be improved.
August Vol 7 No 8:
Providing convenient and accessible toilet facilities
The practical problems associated with going to the toilet for older and
disabled people, and ways of minimizing the difficulties.
September Vol 7 No 9:
Enabling residents to bath easily and safely
Solutions to common problems surrounding this activity and a guide to the
latest special bathing equipment on the market.
October Vol 7 No 10:
Simple steps for promoting urinary continence
Urinary incontinence is not necessarily part of the ageing process; there may
be medical, physiological or
other reasons. This article explores approaches to tackling the problem.
November Vol 7 No 11:
Enabling residents to enjoy showering
Exploring the concept of showering and how to make it safe and pleasurable
for residents and staff.
December Vol 7 No 12:
Understanding and reducing the risk of stroke: a guide
An explanation of the background to this disease and advice to carers on what
they can do to help prevent residents from having a stroke, including
monitoring diet and weight.
July Vol 6 No 7:
Encouraging mobility through movement to music
Outlines the benefits of activity to music within a care environment and
provides ideas on session content.
August Vol 6 No 8:
The importance of assessment in residential care
Outlines the assessment of residents and how this relates to planning
practical activities in a care setting.
September Vol 6 No 9:
The value of recreational activities within a care setting
Provides ideas for enjoyable activities and describes the value of
establishing a varied programme for residents.
October Vol 6 No 10:
Encouraging communication through 'silver surfing'
Discusses how the Internet can be used for residents in a care setting and
offers some useful web addresses.
November Vol 6 No 11:
Doing things differently: A facilitative approach to care
An enabling approach to encourage residents to become more independent with
activities of daily living.
December Vol 6 No 12:
Access for all: Removing barriers that disable
How restrictions are imposed on people with access difficulties, which
prevent their full participation in
society. Ways of minimizing these by good design practices are explored.
Articles have also been published in:
Email: BoxNum 1242
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