Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 24;19(15):8995. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19158995.
A gap in knowledge about current splinting practice exists between the educational program and clinical service. To bridge this gap, we investigated the perspectives and experiences of Thai occupational therapists regarding contemporary hand splinting practices in clinical use. A mixed-method study was designed. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used. In the first quantitative phase, a survey questionnaire was mailed to occupational therapists. The questions were regarding contemporary hand splinting practices in clinical use at seven hospitals in the capital city of Bangkok and outskirt areas. In the second phase, semi-structured interviews were completed to explore expert occupational therapists’ perspectives on practice in the same hospital settings. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results showed that most conditions receiving splints were nerve injuries, orthopedics, and stroke, which represented the service frequency of splint types: functional resting (100%), cock-up (93.3%), and thumb spica splints (80%). Bone and joint deformity prevention ranked first with muscle contracture prevention being ranked second, and the third-ranked was maintaining range of motion. Three themes emerged from the interviews: starting with the patient condition; effective function and value; knowledge and experiential skills. Perspectives and experiences of occupational therapists in splinting practice contribute to education based on the reality of practice. Integrated numerical and textual data of professional skills and knowledge in actual splinting practice can be reflected through splints and orthoses program revisions to meet future learning outcomes.
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