Leading the way for advanced practice in occupational therapy: Implications of a scoping review and workshop

Ms Annette Leong2, Ms Susan Giles1, Ms Jude  Boyd2, Ms  Alison Lunt3, Associate Professor Ted Brown5, Ms  Lisa Vale6, Ms Kim Mestroni8, Ms Janice  McKeever4, Ms Claire Lynch7

1Western Health, Footscray, Australia,

2Eastern Health, Box Hill, Australia,

3Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia,

4Monash Health, Clayton, Australia,

5Monash University, Frankston, Australia,

6Splash Occupational Therapy, Werribee, Australia,

7St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Fitzroy, Australia,

8Occupational Therapy Australia, Fitzroy, Australia


Background: With lack of clarity regarding potential occupational therapy advanced practice roles (OTAPRs), other than in recognised specialty practice areas such as Hand Therapy, it is imperative for the occupational therapy profession to identify, define and operationalise suitable functions and responsibilities so that it is positioned to effectively respond to strategic opportunities as they arise. The development of a flexible, cost effective, responsive allied heath workforce is a priority for many funders of health care services.  There is evidence that advanced practice roles (such as OTAPRs) have the potential to improve service efficiency, effectiveness, patient satisfaction and outcomes, costs reduction, hospital admission rates and provide expanded career pathways for clinicians.


Aim: To identify and review issues related to OTAPRs including competency/credentialing frameworks, trends in the empirical literature, and the measurement of advance practice role efficacy.


Method: A workshop was held with expert clinicians from eight key occupational therapy practice areas. Participants identified potential OTAPRs relevant to their practice areas. Each group generated a specific work plan. A scoping review of the related empirical literature was also completed.


Results: Several OTAPRs were identified, with specific competencies and credentialing processes developed. These have been endorsed by the OTA Victorian Divisional Council, and will facilitate spread and sustainability of robust effective professional roles.


Significance of the findings to allied health: This process can be used to identify appropriate advanced practice roles, across allied health disciplines, and multi-disciplinary teams. OTAPRs will be described and findings from the scoping review will be presented.