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Occupational therapy in primary care

Problem outline
The holistic perspective from which the occupational therapist acts means that occupational therapy is closely aligned with the vision pursued by primary healthcare. The paradigm shift towards personalised, integrated and demand-driven care emphasises the need for a better integration of occupational therapy in primary care within interdisciplinary collaborative initiatives. However, to date, the land registry does not provide an overview of the number of occupational therapists actually fulfilling their role as health professionals in primary care. Furthermore, the role of occupational therapists in primary care is only defined to a limited extent, and neither is the way in which they are prepared for this.

Research questions
What competencies and roles do occupational therapists who are currently working in primary care have? Which competencies should be included in the competence profile of an occupational therapist working in primary care in Flanders? 

An inventory of occupational therapists working in primary care will be collected by means of a survey. On the basis of a literature study, in-depth interviews and a Delphi study, a Flemish competence profile will be developed according to CanMeds. A profession-oriented evaluation instrument will be developed that can be used by both occupational therapists as well as employers. The project is being developed in close cooperation with the professional association Occupational Therapy Flanders.

The results of this project and the dissemination of the profile in primary care can contribute to a better integration of occupational therapy within primary care. In addition, recommendations can be formulated to the Flemish training programmes and to the professional field within the framework of ensuring quality healthcare in primary care.