Models in Action: Person-Environment-Occupation Model

Models in Action: Person-Environment-Occupation Model (Christiansen, Baum and Bass 2011)

This week I needed to change the environment we were working in.


Well, we were delivering a session in a leisure centre which ticked a lot of boxes.

It had a cafe to meet, the staff brought tea and coffee into the session as part of the package, they set up the room each week, so a lot going for it.

But as the weeks went on we realised the room was very cold, because it was a studio it was set at a low temperature for people who were exercising. As we were not exercising we were getting really cold and one week even had to open the fire doors to let some warm air in. We asked the manager but were told it was out of his control as it was centrally controlled. They tried to fix it but were unable to.

 As we were planning the new group and ordering the venue we were also informed that the cafe would be closing, where all the group members practised their skills asking for lunch after the group.

So I sat at home, not knowing Dewsbury at all and tried to find a new venue. I had to be close to the bus and train station as all the group come by public transport, that helped me to identify a postcode to narrow down the search.

I thought about the town hall, a room in a cafe on the station, the job centre, in fact every building in that postcode. I explored them all on line from Sheffield, the beauty of the Internet.

Eventually I thought I need to speak to someone so I phoned tourist information to share my conundrum with someone who knows the town much better than I do.

Jackpot they were based in the library, I spoke to a very helpful person, explained who I was and what I was doing and arranged to go on a visit with my colleague after the group the following Friday.

The new venue is fantastic, the room is warm and comfortable, the staff are very helpful. They have disabled access and suitable toilets. With some negotiation they have agreed to provide tea and coffee on arrival for 10p per person. Finally we have also negotiated that we can all join the library, and we went away with application forms to incorporate into our induction session.

What I love about all this is that it clearly demonstrates a concrete example of the application of the PEOP model.

The needs of the people, warmth, a comfortable working environment, and one that is valued by the rest of the community, and the occupation of attending the group with bolt on sustainability.

The group will become members of the library, attend our group for 8 weeks so will be comfortable with the geography of getting there. It's literally one minute from the leisure centre we were using.

 The members of the group will get to know the staff and regular library users and visa versa. They will have the confidence to explore what the library has to offer, talking books, DVDs, videos, magazines, easy read books etc, and have an opportunity to practice taking these out and bring them back each week.

They will be able to continue with this after the group has finished, and if they like continue to meet as a group in the library.

I hope this helps you to trigger some thoughts about the models and approaches you can use in the next placement and the wider context in which you provide occupational therapy.

Margaret Spencer MA Consultant Occupational Therapist & Senior Lecturer LinkedIn Profile 

CHRISTIANISED, Charles, BAUM, Carolyn. M and BASS, Julie (2011). The Person-Environment-Occupational Performance (PEOP) Model. In: DUNCAN, Edward. A.S. (eds.). Foundations for Practice in Occupational Therapy, 5th ed., London, United Kingdom, Elsevier Ltd, p93-105. 

 This post is written by Margaret Spencer. Margarets blogs are a culmination of over thirty years experience  working in Occupational Therapy, including material from her books and conference presentations.

They answer the real queries and questions that 100's of undergraduate  and post graduate students, qualified OT's and managers, that she has had the privilege to work with and supervise continue to ask her.

To see how Margaret can offer support to your team visit her website or email



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