Occupational Therapy Program
Overview of OT Resource Development
All resources developed for OTs by State Council, both current and proposed, reflect gaps in OT training and development as identified by OTs during an extensive consultation process across NSW. To date these resources have focused on fact sheets; proformas for minor home modifications; form and checklist for major home modifications; templates and samples of written and diagrammatical specifications for major bathroom modifications; and generic policies and procedures for the evaluation of minor and major home modifications.
All resources developed:
- reflect best practice for OTs when prescribing home modifications;
- have been reviewed and approved by the OT Reference Groups established by State Council; and
- are applicable to all OTs - regardless of level of experience in prescribing home modifications
The OT Consultation Process
An extensive consultation process was initiated by the NSW HMMS State Council in 2007 to 2008 involving approximately 400 OTs to identify gaps in OT training and development in relation to home modifications.
The consultations were undertaken with OTs via focus groups through existing forums/organisations including Home Modification Interest Groups, NSW Spinal Practitioners Group, OT AUSTRALIA NSW and the NSW OT Area Advisors Group.
The focus groups captured clinicians and managers representing:
- community, rehabilitation and acute care settings
- pediatric and adult services
- public health
- private health services
- metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas across NSW.
As a result of feedback received from these OT Focus groups, attendance at Regional Meetings and review of non-recurrent applications made to State Council the following key issues were identified by the Executive Officer, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Specialist Technical Officer:
- inconsistency in the level of knowledge about the HMMS Program by referring OTs;
- inconsistency in the knowledge of HACC eligibility requirements;
- inconsistency in the quality of OT referral information received by HMMS;
- limited practical training available to OTs in relation to home modifications; and
- limited practical resource material available for OTs regarding home modifications.
To address the above issues, the following capacity building initiatives for both referring OTs and HMMS have been developed and implemented:
- a partnership with OT Australia NSW to co-present the Environmental Modification in the Home, Level 1, Workshop in 2008;
- the development and implementation of the Legally Speaking Workshop 2009;
- the development of all course materials for The Shed Series of Workshops (November 2008 – February 2009);
- the implementation of The Shed Training Series of Workshops (March 2009 -2010)
- the creation of OT Reference Groups for review and consultation of all fact sheets and other relevant resources developed;
- the release of the first instalment of fact sheets (November 2009); form and checklist for major home modifications (September 2010);and proformas for minor home modifications (May 2011); and
- an information and advice service for referring OTs in the HMMS industry
Fact Sheets, Standardised Forms and Proformas
To be inclusive and capture the broad range of knowledge from practising OT clinicians and academics two OT Reference Groups have been formed (one specifically in relation to standardised documentation) to review and have input into State Council’s OT fact sheets, forms and proformas. A total of 46 OTs with recognized experience and expertise in home modifications were invited to be on the OT Reference Groups representing:
- NSW HMMS
- NSW Health
- The Spastic Centre of NSW
- Private Practice
- NSW OT Advisors for the Department of Veterans Affairs
- NSW Spinal Practitioners Group
- OT Australia NSW
- Home Modification Information Clearinghouse Project
- Southern Cross University, Undergraduate OT Program
Existing documentation, including assessment, referral and report writing tools for both minor and major home modifications, are reviewed by the Specialist Occupational Therapist, in conjunction with the OT Reference Groups, to ensure that the resources developed by the State Council:
- complement not duplicate existing resources
- capture information in a consistent format whilst working towards improving the quality of referrals received by HMMS
- reflect best practice and
- are also applicable to all OTs regardless of the service provider utilized to undertake the home modifications e.g. Department of Housing, Department of Veterans Affairs, compensable etc. All completed Fact Sheets and Forms are now available for download from the NSW HMMS State Council website.