Occupational therapy private practice workforce: Issues in the 21st century

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Abstract

Background.

The number of occupational therapists working in the private sector in British Columbia (BC) has risen steadily since 2008, employing approximately 25.7% of occupational therapists by 2012. Processes used to determine workforce needs for occupational therapists in BC have previously overlooked this growing sector.

Purpose.

This study aims to describe the supply, demand, and workforce needs for occupational therapists in BC’s private sector.

Method.

This exploratory study used a sample of occupational therapists and employers of occupational therapists in BC’s private sector. Data collection included an online survey that collected information about the workplace and supply and demand needs. Descriptive data analysis was conducted on the survey data, and thematic analysis was used to organize participants’ comments into categories.

Findings.

In addition to identifying current supply, this study identifies barriers, facilitators, projected movement in and out of the sector, and current and future demand for occupational therapists.

Implications.

This study supports the need for an increase in supply of occupational therapists in the private sector to fulfill the current and future workforce demands.

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