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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy facilitates health and well-being through the therapeutic use of meaningful and purposeful activities. We believe that occupational balance and justice enables individuals of all ages to achieve their full potential in their everyday lives and communities. A high proportion of our research has an emphasis on improving health and well-being in later life, for example, managing widowhood and care-giving, and moving, handling and positioning to increase independence and functional performance in activities of daily living. 

Some of our research focuses on work and vocational rehabilitation, leisure and identity, and achieving occupational balance across the life course. An additional focus of our team is on professional issues including emotional intelligence, service user engagement and leadership.

Our research involves collaboration with professionals and service users in a variety of practice settings, for example, Manchester Royal Infirmary and The Christie Hospital. As an emerging group we are involved in a range of projects within the School of Health Sciences, across the University and with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors. We also work closely with the, more established, Rehabilitation Research group who aim to improve outcomes and quality of life for people with long-term physical conditions.

Later life, health and wellbeing

Current research focuses on managing later life widowhood, examining the caring role and family relationships, and evaluating community engagement activities to prevent loneliness, social isolation and occupational deprivation. In addition research is being conducted with partners in industry into moving and handling, seating and positioning, and pressure relief to maximise occupational function and independence.

We also work closely with the Salford Institute for Dementia

Work, leisure and occupational balance

Research into welfare to work and health related support for benefit recipients, in particular the interventions that are delivered by occupational therapists. A study is also being conducted with practitioners at the Christie Hospital to evaluate the use of a workbook to assist service users to re-engage with meaningful occupations after serious illness or life-disruptive events have jeopardised identity and wellbeing. Occupational balance, using a social media app, is also being researched in conjunction with colleagues in Equity, Health and Wellbeing group

Emotional intelligence, service user engagement and leadership

Emotional intelligence is being researched in conjunction with colleagues in Applied Psychology. Service user engagement is being investigated in conjunction with external partners in practice. The role of leadership and the opportunities and challenges for occupational therapy as a profession are also being explored.



  • Feasibility study of enhanced occupational therapy interventions for children and adolescents with CNS tumours.
  • Salford Community Christmas Project: Evaluative research of a community Christmas event for older people and people living with dementia
  • It Takes Two? Exploring the manual handling Myth.
  • An alternative to slings - Klip-2-Lift.
  • Occubuzz research.
  • GMPHN funded Healthy Work Conversations.
  • genHOME project (\genhome)
  • Emotional Intelligence (EI): national survey of Emotional Intelligence in Occupational Therapists
  • Service User Engagement in Occupational Therapy: investigation into service user perceptions.

Bartley, C. and Stephens, M. (2017). Evaluating the impact of WaterCell® Technology on pressure redistribution and comfort/discomfort of adults with limited mobility. Journal of Tissue Viability, 26, 2, 144-149.

Bartley, C., Webb, J. and Bayly, J. (2015). Multidisciplinary approaches to moving and handling for formal and informal carers in community palliative care. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 21, 1, 17-22.

Bodell, S. and Hook, A. (2015). Occubuzz; an app for occupational wellbeing. Ergotherapeuten, 3, 12-13.

Ceolta-Smith, J., Salway, S. and Tod, A. (2015). A Review of Health-related Support Provision within the UK Work Programme - What's on the menu? Social Policy and Administration, 49, 2, 254-276.

Collins, T. (2014). Managing widowhood in later life: the challenges encountered. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 21, 2, 69 –76.

Collins, T. (2013). Remembering the past, looking to the future: Christmas as a symbol of change in later life widowhood. Ageing and Society, DOI:10.1017/S0144686X13000329

Collins, T., Kenney, C. and Hesk, G. (2016) ‘It pushed me back into the human race’: evaluative findings from a community Christmas event. Health and Social Care in the Community. DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12342

Davidson, H. (2012). A leadership challenge for occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75, 8, 390-392.

Davys, D., Mitchell, D. and Haigh, C. (2014). Adult siblings consider the future: emergent themes. Journal Of Applied Research In Intellectual Disabilities, DOI: 10.1111/jar.12172

Davys, D., Haigh, C. and Mitchell, D. (2014). Futures planning-adult sibling perspectives. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, DOI:10.1111/bld.12099

Davys, D., Mitchell, D. and Martin, R. (2016). Fathers of adults with an intellectual disability: a review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. DOI: 10.1177/1744629516650129

Hooper, E. and Collins, T. (2016) An occupational perspective of the lived experience of familial dementia caregivers: a thematic review of qualitative literature. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. Doi:10.1177/1471301216672489

McKenna, J. and Mellson, J. (2013) Emotional intelligence and the occupational therapist. British Journal Of Occupational Therapy. 76, 9, 427-430.

Taylor, J. and Jones, V. (2017) The development of a workbook to explore meaningful occupations after life-changing events. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. DOI:10.1177/0308022617698168

Webb, J., Szczepura, K. and Bartley, C. (2016) The Comfier bed converter: an innovation for pressure management and comfort. Equipment Services, January.

Our team welcomes applications from PhD students, below are some sample project areas:

  • Managing later life widowhood and caregiving, the role of family, friends and community.
  • Life engagement for people living with dementia.
  • Community engagement to tackle loneliness, social exclusion and occupational deprivation.
  • Moving and handling, seating and positioning, and pressure relief to increase functional performance and independence.
  • Work and vocational rehabilitation, the role of occupational therapists.
  • Occupational balance and wellbeing using social media.
  • Use of the built environment to support occupational participation. 

Jo Webb

The team

Mrs Carol Bartley

Ms Sarah Bodell

Occupational Therapy

Dr Jenny Ceolta-Smith

Health & Welfare, Occupational Therapy, Sociology of Health

Ms Heather Davidson

Dr Deborah Davys


Ms Angela Hook

Health and wellbeing, Occupational Therapy

Ms Vivienne Jones

Ms Christine Kenney

Ms Rachel Martin

Mrs Jacqueline Mckenna

Occupational therapy, service user engagement and emotional intelligence

Dr Rachel Russell

Gerontology, Healthy Environments, Housing, Inclusive Design, Occupational Therapy

Ms Ellen Tickle

Ms Jo-anne Webb