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Published on December 8th, 2016 | from CAMH

What does Cognitive Adaptation Training (CAT) have to do with Occupational Therapy?

By Raquel Williams, Occupational Therapist, CAMH 

Living with schizophrenia involves having a complex disorder often characterized by deficits in cognition as a core symptom. These cognitive impairments have been associated with difficulties in community functioning, including engagement in activities of daily living, occupational functioning, and social relationships.

Cognitive Adaptation Training (CAT) is an emerging systematic intervention that uses environmental supports and compensatory strategies to bypass these problems. It works by providing targeted interventions based on the 1) individual’s level cognitive functioning, 2) whether the individual is apathetic, disinhibited or both, and 3) individual’s identified areas for functional improvement. Environmental supports and strategies are incorporated into the individual’s routines. Commonly used supports include checklists, reminder signs, large calendars, schedules and voice alarm clocks. CAT involves working one to one with individuals affected by schizophrenia in their homes and often the community. The CAT clinician collaborates with the clients to achieve their goals such as improving the cleanliness/organization of their homes, developing a routine, obtaining volunteer positions or paid employment, and developing friendships.

Studies have found CAT improves community functioning, adaptive functioning, performance in activities of daily living, medication adherence, social functioning, work performance, motivation, and quality of life while lessening hospitalizations and relapses rates.

Although there is growing evidence of the effectiveness of CAT, there is no research that addresses whether CAT is consistent with occupational therapy paradigms. To further occupational therapy practice, it is important to explore emerging interventions and how they compare with occupational therapy principles and values.

The purpose of this study is to explore occupational therapists’ perspectives on whether CAT aligns with Canadian occupational therapy values, principles, and models.

Occupational therapists, in Canada, with current or past experience working with individuals affected by mental health issues can complete this 20 minute online anonymous national survey to learn more about CAT and share their perspectives. The survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8K2MYFD

For more information you can contact:

Raquel Williams, M.Sc.OT, OT Reg. (Ont.)

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