Evaluation of an assessment model to reduce waitlist times for occupational therapy in a rural community health setting

Aust J Rural Health. 2021 Nov 10. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12806. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Community occupational therapy services have seen an increase in demand over the last three years, resulting in longer waitlist times for service provision, particularly in rural areas where it is difficult to recruit experienced occupational therapists. Utilising a demand management model, the Basic Assessment Model Pre-Screening Tool was developed by a team of Occupational Therapists and allied health assistants to decrease client waitlist times at one rural community health service.

DESIGN: An evaluation of the implementation of an assessment model with comparison of quantitative data pre and post intervention.

SETTING: Rural Community Health Service in Victoria, Australia PARTICIPANTS: 456 clients that were registered as community-based clients requiring occupational therapy services.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Following the implementation of the newly developed Basic Assessment Model the number of occupational therapy assessments increased and there was a decrease in the median wait time that clients were on the waitlist in comparison to pre implementation.

RESULTS: There was a statistically significant decrease (p<0.001) in the median number of days spent on the waitlist for the post intervention group (80 days) compared to the pre intervention group (105 days).

CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that waiting lists for community occupational therapy services can be reduced by implementing this basic assessment model ultimately improving the health outcomes of clients.

PMID:34757648 | DOI:10.1111/ajr.12806

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