Lessons learnt about influencing from the implementation of policy about assertive outreach
1) York St John University, United Kingdom 2) Tees, Esk & Wear Valley NHS Trust, United Kingdom
Introduction: In the UK policy stated that occupational therapy skills should be available within Assertive Outreach teams either by employing a fully qualified practitioner or by training other team members.
Aim: To investigate the impact of government policy on the delivery of occupational therapy services, using assertive outreach as an exemplar.
Methods: A multiple case study design was used to study assertive outreach teams (N=4). Nationally in-depth interviews were conducted, with occupational therapists with an interest in policy and strategic level thinking(N=11). Service users were involved throughout.
Findings: Occupational therapists were not aware of the policy statement about occupational therapy in assertive outreach and, generally, did not use it to influence the development of these services.An "influencing" framework was developed so that individual occupational therapists understand this in the context of their role.
Conclusion: "Influencing" should become a key skill that every occupational therapist has in their toolbox.
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