Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapy services in the acute care setting lower hospital readmission rates and increase patient functional outcomes. Specifically, occupation-based services have been found to be effective, individualized, and motivating for patients in the acute care setting. It is unclear though to the extent that occupation-based services are being provided as prior studies reveal that occupational therapy practitioners experience challenges in implementing occupation-based services in the acute care setting. This study examined the extent that occupation-based services are being provided in the acute care setting; what supports and barriers practitioners experience in implementing these services; and what, if any, strategies are used by practitioners to overcome perceived barriers. An electronic survey, guided by the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (4th edition), was disseminated to occupational therapy practitioners with at least one year experience in an acute care setting. Descriptive analysis of the 45 valid surveys revealed that activities of daily living and health management were the most frequently addressed occupations in the acute care setting. Respondents indicated using various strategies to provide occupation-based services, however identified multiple barriers in the acute care setting, such as system policies and available resources, which negatively impacted consistent use of occupation-based services. One aspect of health management, not frequently addressed, was medication management, a critical factor in reducing hospital readmissions. Increasing focus on medication management creates an opportunity for occupational therapy to highlight its distinct role and value in the medically based acute care setting. The results of this study also have implications for entry level education and professional development as results indicated decreased knowledge and use of occupation-based theory and evaluation tools.



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