Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Current Practice and Perceptions of Group Work in Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island
Article Information
Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Education of OTs and OTAs / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Sensory Integration and Processing / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Current Practice and Perceptions of Group Work in Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510223. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO7096
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510223. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO7096
Abstract

Date Presented 4/18/2015

This presentation shows the results of national survey that was used to determine occupational therapy practitioners’ current practice trends and views of group treatment, identify supports and benefits of group treatment, identify future educational needs, and provide recommendations to increase group work in practice.

SIGNIFICANCE: In this presentation, we share the results of a survey that was used to determine occupational therapy practitioners’ current practice and views of group treatment and to identify needs and recommendations to increase group work in practice. The results of this research project add to the current literature on use of groups and provide recommendations and directions for the future of occupational therapy group work.
Our objectives were to describe types of group education provided by occupational therapy practitioners; describe current group practice by type and frequency provided by occupational therapy practitioners; identify theoretical frameworks on which current group practice is based; identify barriers, supports, opportunities, and limitations to providing group treatment in different practice areas; and identify resources for improving and promoting groups in practice.
METHOD: Participants consisted of a convenience sample of occupational therapy practitioners who are members of state occupational therapy associations. An e-mail with an invitation to participate in the survey was sent to secretary/business managers of state occupational therapy associations with the request to e-mail blast the invitation and link to the survey to members of state associations. A four part survey was developed that focused on (1) basic demographics, (2) group education and training, (3) group interventions, and (4) perception of group treatment. The 20-question survey included both open and closed questions and took 15 to 20 min to complete. Closed questions were analyzed for frequency distributions, cross-tabulations, and chi-square tests. Open-ended questions were analyzed and categorized via content analysis.
RESULTS: Of the respondents (N = 268), 50% identified using groups in current practice, and 50% reported that they did not use groups in current practice. Responses indicated a range of groups from 0 to 20; in a typical week, the mean number of groups was 6. Exercise—including yoga and range of motion—was the most common group modality used, with task groups and sensory integration/sensory modulation groups reported as high use. Other groups that were identified included school-based groups, physical disabilities groups, and psychosocial groups. Groups continue to be an integral part of occupational therapy practice.
CONCLUSION: Although the nature of group treatment has changed over the past 20 yr, the use of groups has remained consistent. Information from this survey should be used to inform the education of future occupational therapy practitioners. Group theory and group work are educational standards and are required to be included in all levels of occupational therapy education. Focus should be on increasing the formal education of students in the different types of group formats, not just focusing on one or two lectures or laboratory experiences; instead, more inclusive and in-depth education should be used to focus on group intervention across the lifespan, from children to adults to older adults. With the increase of occupational therapy practitioners in school and community settings, nontraditional group formats need to be further explored and integrated into occupational therapy education. Development of continuing education workshops and in-services to address this need is also paramount to increasing group use across practice areas, with specific focus on the growing areas of pediatric practice and community settings.