Credentials Display

Gregory Chown, OTD, OTR/L, BHSc(OT), BA, CPAM, CKTP; Theresa Soley, MSOT, BS, OTR/L; Susan Moczydlowski, MSOT, BA, OTR/L; Christine Chimento, MSOT, BS, OTR/L; Amy Smoyer, MSOT, BS, OTR/L


Background: The purpose of the study was to increase the scope of knowledge regarding the perception of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners working in the emergency department (ED). A literature review identified a gap in knowledge of OT practitioners working in the ED.

Methods: The 10 participants in this study were registered and licensed OT practitioners working at five acute-care settings with experience working in the ED in Pennsylvania hospitals. A qualitative phenomenological research study was conducted using semi-structured interviews of participants’ lived experiences.

Results: Using qualitative data analysis program Atlas.ti 7®, the central themes discovered were discharge recommendations that ensure patient safety, the next step, lack of education, and factors affecting the future of OT in the ED. The roles identified by participants included performing safety assessments, recommending equipment, and education. The perception of OT practitioners regarding other health care professionals was that OT services were positive and beneficial to staff.

Conclusion: The OT practitioners reported a positive perception of their work, including quality of patient care with regard to patient safety and decreasing return visits to the ED. It is believed that OT in the ED will expand in the future; however, limitations include lack of education and physical organization of the ED.