Social services occupational therapists' view of practice and integration with health: A survey
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Forsyth, K. & Hamilton, E. (2008) Social services occupational therapists' view of practice and integration with health: A survey, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 71, , pp. 64-71,
There is little known about social services occupational therapy provision within Scotland and England. This information is important when planning strategically for the future. The aim of this study was to understand the views of social services occupational therapists on their practice and integration with health services. Systematic random sampling of social work/social services departments was completed (n = 10) and 57 occupational therapists within these departments received a mailed questionnaire. There was a 72% response rate. The therapists received 'on average 40 referrals' each month and 98% of the therapists retained the client for over 4 weeks, within which they had 3-6 contacts of 45-90 minutes each. Ninety-five per cent of the referrals were perceived to be appropriate and the clients benefited from the occupational therapy services. Fifty-four per cent of the therapists focused on self-care, equipment/adaprtations and discussion with family/carers for more than half of their time, with 76% stating that they did not address all the clients' occupational needs. Eighty-eight per cent stated that there was an overlap with health service occupational therapists in the areas of assessment, equipment provision and family/carer advice. Forty-four per cent stated that there were some changes towards integration with health; however, 98% felt that more integration would benefit clients. The article sets out recommendations for consideration.