Forensic Occupational Therapy in Canada: The Current State of Practice

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Abstract

Although occupational therapists have been practicing in forensic settings for many years, there is a paucity of literature regarding the nature of this practice in Canada. The purpose of this study was to describe the practices of Canadian occupational therapists in forensic mental health. An online survey was designed based on the Canadian Practice Process Framework. Following purposive and snowball sampling, responses were analysed with descriptive statistics and content analysis. Twenty-seven clinicians responded (56% response rate). Respondents indicated commonalities in workplaces, client caseloads and practice challenges. The outstanding need in Canada to demonstrate client outcomes through the use of evaluation instruments reflects those practice gaps identified internationally. Education, advocacy and research are critical areas for the development of Canadian forensic occupational therapy. Although findings heavily reflect one provincial context and may not be generalizable to nonhospital settings, a number of priority areas were identified. Future efforts should clarify the role of forensic occupational therapy to stakeholders, and validate their contributions through research that evaluates intervention efficacy and meaningful outcomes. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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