Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Third Advisor

Camille Skubik-Peplaski

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Abstract

The aim of this research was to provide evidence on the integration of occupational therapy (OT) intervention in primary care from the perspective of OTs. Typical services provided, experience with team members, and the identified value of OT in primary health care was explored. OT possesses the expertise and skill set to address the most common chronic conditions that primary care providers treat by entry level educational preparation. OT services are based upon a holistic view of individuals creating an affective skill set to participate in and coordinate health care delivery for the client. Currently limited evidence is available to support OT in primary care. A need exists for the development of defined roles for OT in the interprofessional primary care team. The changing reimbursement model for health care delivery and associated funding also adds to the paucity of information available in this emerging practice area. Qualitative methods were used in this case study research. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes. Findings of this study include main themes of facility characteristics, assessment and intervention strategies, interprofessional communication, barriers including space and time, and future needs for the education of OTs. Conclusions from this study present how integration into primary care will require OTs to advocate for their place in this setting as valued and beneficial members to the primary care team. OTs found that the greatest impact was made through focusing interventions on habits and routines, managing chronic conditions and co-morbidities, and prevention.

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