By Vicki Kaskutas, OTD, MHS, OT/L, and Jeffrey Snodgrass, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, CWCE
Practice guidelines play an important role in promoting high-quality care. The American Occupational Therapy Association’s Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines for Individuals With Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses gives occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and other health care professionals evidence-based guidance to care for workers who become hurt or ill on the job. These guidelines also provide an excellent reference for employers and state workers’ compensation divisions in understanding the unique role of occupational therapy in rehabilitation of injured and ill workers.
In 2007 American workers experienced 4 million work-related injuries and illnesses. Using concepts from the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, this guideline helps prepare occupational therapy practitioners to assist this large population and details the assessment and treatment of people with work-related injuries, including planning for returning to work. A systematic literature review synthesizes extensive research, distilling the most important parts—treatment recommendations—through reader-friendly tables. Individual evidence tables present and summarize a wide range of literature on the low back; elbow; hand, wrist, and forearm; and shoulder and apply it to occupational therapy clinical practice. Useful appendixes also summarize ICD-9-CM and CPT™ codes related to occupational therapy for individuals with work-related injuries and illnesses.
Created for clinical practitioners, this practice guideline also is essential for occupational therapy students and educators, policymakers, and other health care professionals involved with the care of injured or ill workers or payment for health care services.