The emerging role of occupational therapy in primary care Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Few studies have examined the role of occupational therapy working in a primary care setting. PURPOSE: The objective of the study was to describe the emerging role of occupational therapy in Family Health Teams, a model of interprofessional primary care. METHOD: A multiple case study design was used to provide in-depth description of the occupational therapy role. Data collection included interviews, document analyses, and questionnaires. Each case was first analyzed individually, followed by cross-case analyses to determine common themes. FINDINGS: The role of occupational therapy in Family Health Teams epitomizes that of a generalist, whose overarching focus is on function. Occupational therapists are working across the life span with a wide range of client populations. Older adults and individuals with complex chronic conditions are two prominent areas of occupational therapy focus. IMPLICATIONS: Understanding the impact of health conditions on daily function and enabling participation in activities are unique and important contributions of occupational therapy.


  • Donnelly, Catherine A
  • Brenchley, Christie L
  • Crawford, Candace N
  • Letts, Lori

publication date

  • February 2014