Occupational therapy and physiotherapy benefit the acute patient pathway: A mixed-methods study

Inge Hansen Bruun, Birgitte Nørgaard


Introduction: Occupational therapists and physiotherapists are increasingly being employed in the emergency departments (ED), all though evidence is insufficient. This study aims to explore the impact of therapeutically services in the acute inpatient ward in order to find services of greatest value.

Methods: A mixed-methods study using audit, questionnaires and focus group interviews. The participants were physicians and nurses from an ED and three collaborating departments. In the audit and the interviews saturation was achieved and the questionnaire was distributed to the entire study population.

Results: An audit revealed 114 therapist’s notes used by interdisciplinary partners. On a numerical scale (1-10), the overall impact of occupational therapy was 7.4 (CI 6.9-7.9), of physiotherapy 8.3 (CI 7.8-8.7). Concerning contemplated and actual use of therapeutic services the physicians found the greatest usefulness to the discharge and the nurses to care. The interviews showed that the presence of therapist yield a broader perspective on the patient and greater flexibility in the patient pathway.

Conclusion: According to the interdisciplinary partners, therapists represent a valuable contribution to patient pathway in ED. The benefits are especially related to quick provision of aids and appliances, overview of patient’s physical abilities, early mobilization and relay of information.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v4n4p172

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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