Brain health and occupational therapy

By Fiona Barclay, Occupational Therapist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Glasgow

A quality improvement project conducted as part of the Dementia Academy 'Mild cognitive impairment virtual course' which ran from March-September 2021.


A central tenet of occupational therapy practice is working with people to support self-management of their daily occupations (activities). For occupational therapists supporting self-management, this involves giving advice and guidance that supports people in adopting healthy behaviours, maintaining social interactions, and adaptive strategies that enable participation in occupations (Royal College of Occupational Therapists 2019).

Clinical Deficit

Optimising brain health at an individual and societal level may require supported lifestyle changes and providing a specific education programme..

Aims of intervention

To design and provide a one-off brain health education session for people in the first or second stage of Parkinson's, or another movement disorder, and who have had a recent change in their cognitive ability or a cognitive assessment indicative of MCI.


A one-hour session including:

  • Completion of the PD-CFRS and lifestyle questionnaire

  • Review of evidence from the 2020 Lancet Commission report

  • Discussion and goal setting

  • Anonymous feedback form


4 patients were identified; 3 chose to attend the session.

  • The session was rated 8 or 10 out of 10

  • All participants elected to set goals around increased physical activity, increased and varied activities generally, and consuming more fruit and vegetables in their diet.

  • 2 of the 3 suggested they would be interested in further information or support.

  • All reflected on their learning that positive lifestyle choices have an impact on their brain health.

Future sessions will be given, with improvements to the programme including:

  • Liaison with the Movement disorders team to identify appropriate referrals for brain health education

  • 6-monthly follow-up with participants

  • Request completion of the PD-CFRS and lifestyle questionnaire pre-session

  • Offer the session remotely

  • Provide handouts for people to use as prompts or reminders at home.

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