Research Article
Issue Date: February 1998
Published Online: February 01, 1998
Updated: April 30, 2020
Use of Aides in Occupational Therapy Practice
Author Affiliations
  • Kyle V. Russell, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Elizabeth M. Kanny, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Assistant Professor and Head, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Box 356490, Seattle, Washington 98195
Article Information
Ethics / Education of OTs and OTAs / Professional Issues / Research
Research Article   |   February 01, 1998
Use of Aides in Occupational Therapy Practice
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1998, Vol. 52, 118-124.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1998, Vol. 52, 118-124.
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Objectives. This study examined the use of aides in occupational therapy practice, the supervision and training of aides, and practitioners’ attitudes toward the use of aides.

Method. A questionnaire was mailed to a systematically selected sample of 510 occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. The response rate was 74%.

Results. The use of occupational therapy aides is prevalent in a variety of settings. Forty percent of respondents reported that they currently work with aides, whereas 23 % reported that they have never worked with aides. Occupational therapy aides perform a variety of tasks and receive various levels and amounts of supervision and training. Of those respondents who delegated specific skilled tasks to aides, 76% reported daily contact for purposes of supervision and training. Nineteen percent who currently work or have worked with aides reported being in a situation where an ethical issue arose related to aide use.

Conclusion. On the basis of the data, it is suggested that occupational therapy practitioners would benefit from taking a proactive role in determining how aides can be used to maximize service delivery while maintaining quality services. There also appear to be ethical concerns related to appropriate delegation of tasks to aides and to their supervision and training.