Identifying occupational therapists' referral priorities in community health

Harries, Priscilla and Gilhooly, Ken (2006) Identifying occupational therapists' referral priorities in community health. Occupational Therapy International, 10(2), pp. 150-164. ISSN (print) 0966-7903


Occupational therapists in British community mental health teams have been debating how the most effective services can be targeted at the most needy clients. This paper presents the results of a quantitative study that examined 40 British occupational therapists' referral prioritization policies. Results showed half of the participants felt their generic responsibilities, which involved having care co-ordination responsibilities, were too large. Only 25% of participants co-ordinated care for clients whose needs were related to occupational dysfunction. Judgement analysis, that involved regressing the 40 individuals' prioritization decisions onto the 90 respective referral scenarios, was used to statistically model how referral information had been weighted. Group agreement of prioritization was moderate with the reason for referral, history of violence and diagnosis being given the most weighting. Consistency in policy application, as measured by examining prioritization decisions on identical referrals, showed wide variability. Further research is required to identify the optimal and most stable policies within this group.

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