An Investigation into Occupational Therapy Referral Priorities within Kensington and Chelsea Social Services

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Abstract:

Thirty-two out of 33 occupational therapy services within London operate priority systems (Scott 1999), but there is a scarcity of published research into the accuracy of such systems. A study by Leonard (1993) identified discrepancies between priorities allocated before and after assessment, while Grime (1990) discussed the decision-making processes employed by community occupational therapists. Recognising that demand for services will continue to grow in the new millennium, this study investigated whether cases were prioritised appropriately within a team and identified the factors within referrals that influenced prioritising decisions. The referrals (n=45) were prioritised by the team leader, who then allocated the cases to the occupational therapists without revealing the priorities. The occupational therapists reprioritised the cases after the initial assessments; the priorities were then compared and the influencing factors identified. The results indicated that 56% (10 out of 18) of the lower priority cases were inaccurately prioritised, with a tendency to underestimate the priority. The service's referral-taking procedure was reviewed and the study replicated. The second study indicated that the accuracy of prioritising improved following revision of the guidelines, although further issues around service user involvement were highlighted.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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