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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-18

An investigation into medical practitioners' awareness of occupational therapy in South India: A survey

1 Department of External and Regulatory Affairs, NBCOT Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, USA
2 Department of Intensive Care, Apollo Hospitals, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Karthik Mani
335, W Side Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_25_19

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Background: Occupational therapists (OTs) practice on both a first contact and a referral basis. Medical practitioners are often the primary referral source for OTs. To make timely and appropriate referrals to OT, it is imperative that the referral sources demonstrate a broader level of understanding of the OT profession. Objectives: The objective was to determine the level of awareness about OT among medical practitioners in South India. Study Design: Survey research design was used to conduct this study. Methods: An electronic survey was developed for this study and sent via E-mail and social media to medical practitioners in South India who were identified through convenience and snowball sampling. Data were collected from June 15, to July 31, 2019. Results: The number of responses received was 116. Eighty-two percent of the respondents reported either being familiar with or having heard about OT. Respondents who are specialists, work in the private sector, and practice their profession in a foreign country were more familiar with the OT profession and referred patients to OT. Gender and years of medical practice did not influence the familiarity level. Conclusions: Although many respondents have heard about OT and recognize it as a profession aligned with the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, their responses indicate that they have a limited understanding of the profession's scope of practice, OTs' role in some practice areas, and practice settings in which OT services are delivered. The consequence of this could be missed referrals.

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