Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Health Care Professionals' Knowledge of Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Education of OTs and OTAs / Professional Issues / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Wound Management / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Health Care Professionals' Knowledge of Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510189. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO1060
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510189. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO1060
Abstract

Date Presented 4/7/2016

The purpose of this study was to examine medical professionals’ understanding of occupational therapy. The results demonstrate that health care professionals may not fully understand the specific interventions that occupational therapists can provide.

Primary Author and Speaker: Aaron Bonsall

Additional Authors and Speakers: Anna Mosby, Megan Walz, Kirstin Wintermute

The purpose of this study is to assess the understanding of occupational therapy by employees of a major medical system with the intent of identifying further educational needs.
The scope of practice of occupational therapy encompasses more than helping clients regain function in activities of daily living (ADLs), a concept often misunderstood by physicians and other health care professionals (Chakravorty, 1993; Jamnadas, Burns, & Paul, 2002; Tariah, Abulfeilat & Khawaldeh, 2012). In addition to ADL training, occupational therapists provide skilled interventions in the areas of work, leisure, education, sleep and rest, play, social participation, and instrumental activities of daily living (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014). Examining the knowledge of occupational therapy of employees of a major health care system gives insight into the understanding of occupational therapy within the health care community.
This study consists of a survey sent to employees of the University of Missouri Healthcare system. Questions on the survey, based on AlHeresh and Nikopoulos (2010), include demographic information, a checklist identifying roles of occupational therapists, and questions about working with and referring to occupational therapy.
This study included 68 employees of a large health care system with an average experience of 8.9 yr. Surveys were sent out electronically through a health care systems daily newsletter. Respondents ranged from clerical staff to doctors. Data were analyzed for descriptive statistics.
Although the data demonstrate that respondents had overwhelmingly heard of occupational therapy, respondents demonstrated a lack of knowledge about specific occupational therapy domains. Of the 68 respondents, 68 stated that they had heard of occupational therapy, 31 agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they felt knowledgeable about occupational therapy, and 64 agreed or strongly agreed that occupational therapy is a vital health care profession. Participants had a general understanding of occupational therapy: Sixty-five correctly identified ADLs as a domain of concern. However, respondents had difficulty identifying specific domains of occupational therapy. Only 39 respondents were able to identify sensory integration as a domain of concern, only 25 identified splinting, and 36 identified gate training
This study indicates that although occupational therapists are generally well regarded within the health care community, health care professionals may not fully understand the specific interventions that occupational therapists can provide. The findings demonstrate the need for additional education regarding the domains of occupational therapy and interventions occupational therapists they can provide.
References
AlHeresh, R., & Nikopoulos, C. K. (2010). The role of the occupational therapist in Jordan: A survey of the members of the healthcare team exploring their knowledge about occupational therapy in rehabilitation hospitals. Disability and Rehabilitation, 33, 778–776. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2010.509460
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006
Chakravorty, B. (1993). Occupational therapy services: Awareness among hospital consultants and general practitioners. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56.http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/030802269305600804
Jamnadas, B., Burns, J., & Paul, S. (2002). Understanding occupational therapy: Nursing and physician assistant students’ knowledge about occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 14(1), 13–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/J003v14n01_02
Tariah, H. S., Abulfeilat, K., & Khawaldeh, A. (2012). Health professional’s knowledge of occupational therapy in Jordan. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 26(1), 74–87. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/07380577.2011.635184