Occupational therapy practice in acute physical hospital settings: Evidence from a scoping review
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Background/Aim: Increased accountability and growing fiscal limitations in global health care continue to challenge how occupational therapy practices are undertaken. Little is known about how these changes affect current practice in acute hospital settings. This article reviews the relevant literature to further understanding of occupational therapy practice in acute physical hospital settings. Method: A scoping review of five electronic databases was completed using the keywords Occupational therapy, acute hospital settings/acute physical hospital settings, acute care setting/acute care hospital setting, general medicine/general medical wards, occupational therapy service provision/teaching hospitals/tertiary care hospitals. Criteria were applied to determine suitability for inclusion and the articles were analysed to uncover key themes. Results: In total 34 publications were included in the review. Analysis of the publications revealed four themes: (1) Comparisons between the practice of novice and experienced occupational therapists in acute care (2) Occupational therapists and the discharge planning process (3) Role of occupation in the acute care setting and (4) Personal skills needed and organisation factors affecting acute care practice. Conclusion: The current literature has highlighted the challenges occupational therapists face in practicing within an acute setting. Findings from this review enhance understanding of how occupational therapy department managers and educators can best support staff that practise in acute hospital settings.
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