Complex rehab document needs work

Friday, January 9, 2015

BETHESDA, Md. – The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recently voted against a motion to ratify a position paper that defines professional practice for complex rehab in occupational therapy (OT).

The reason? Content.

“They had a content expert work on it, but for those of us who are in this profession, it was not adequate,” said Jenny Lieberman, an OT and member of The Clinician Task Force.

The AOTA has been working on this issue for a number of years. In 2011, it approved a motion to develop a specialized knowledge and skills paper addressing standards of practice for complex rehab for OTs; in 2012, its Commission of Practice shifted gears to a position paper.

The Clinician Task Force believes the position paper needs to do a better job addressing the different levels of expertise for an advanced versus entry-level clinician.

“We have a lot of problems where someone will be referred to a clinician for a wheelchair evaluation,” said Laura Cohen, a PT and executive director of The Clinician Task Force. “They’ll see them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re having a comprehensive evaluation.”

For the moment, AOTA has no plans to take another stab at the position paper.

“At this point we’re reaching out to the representative assembly members to find out how we can proceed with this,” said Lieberman.