Free
Research Article  |   March 1995
Group Treatment: Goals, Tasks, and Economic Implications
Author Affiliations
  • Linda W. Duncombe, MS, OTR/L, is Clinical Associate Professor, Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
  • Margot C. Howe, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, is a Professor Emeritus, Boston School of Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
Article Information
Mental Health / Professional Issues / Research
Research Article   |   March 1995
Group Treatment: Goals, Tasks, and Economic Implications
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 1995, Vol. 49, 199-205. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.3.199
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 1995, Vol. 49, 199-205. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.3.199
Abstract

Objective. In 1993, a replication of a 1983 survey of occupational therapists who used group treatment in practice was administered in order to determine whether economic and demographic changes during the 10-year period altered the use of group treatment in the delivery of occupational therapy services.

Method. The survey used in 1983 was updated with new questions regarding reimbursement and payment and was mailed to 307 practicing occupational therapists nationwide. Of the 188 respondents, who represented all areas of practice, 96 used group treatment and provided data on the 233 groups that they led.

Results. The two largest groups of occupational therapists who used group treatment worked in non-medical facilities (i.e., schools and community facilities). In general, group occupational therapy was activity oriented and small sized. Therapeutic goals included enhancing patients’ task skills, communication and socialization skills, and physical abilities. Fifty-five percent of the 75 respondents to a reimbursement question indicated that there was no difference in the rate charged for individual versus group treatment.

Conclusion. Occupational therapists continue to use group treatment in a variety of facilities and with many different groups. The differences between the 1983 and 1993 studies were largely due to demographics (e.g., the decrease in the number of therapists working in mental health settings.) Recent documentation of the cost-effectiveness of group treatment may promote its use in times of staff member shortages and restricted funds.