Valuing home modifications: The street-level policy work of occupational therapists in Australian home modification practice

Aust Occup Ther J. 2022 Aug 22. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12836. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Occupational therapists recommending home modifications in Australia are often required by funding bodies to consider ‘value’ and ‘value for money’ (VFM); however, clear guidance on how to define and apply these concepts is not always provided. This paper reports on a qualitative study examining how the concepts of value and VFM are currently understood and operationalised by occupational therapists in Australian home modification practice, with the aim of positively contributing to both policy and practice in this area.

METHODS: The study utilised constructivist grounded theory to collect and analyse qualitative data from 20 occupational therapists who were currently working across Australia and had professional experience in home modifications.

FINDINGS: The grounded theory that was derived from the analysis highlights the unique position that occupational therapists occupy in home modification work as they strive to align the values of different stakeholders to create solutions that all consider to be valuable. In the absence of consistent frameworks or methods for determining value and VFM, evidence also emerged of occupational therapists using a range of individual approaches such as using formal and informal care as metrics, cheapest option approaches, and comparative costing.

CONCLUSION: In addition to a clear need for consistent and transparent approaches to understanding and operationalising VFM in home modifications, there is also a need for further investigation into the value systems that underpin this work. A conceptualisation of occupational therapists as street-level policy agents has proven useful here as it highlights the position occupational therapists occupy, enacting, making, and, at times, challenging policy in day-to-day practice as they work to align the values of the various stakeholders.

PMID:35996319 | DOI:10.1111/1440-1630.12836

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