Today, healthcare providers and occupational therapists are increasingly required to rely on evidence-based practices. In both outpatient and inpatient settings, the use of research-based practices can be identified using the Research Utilization Measure questionnaire.
This study explores how occupational therapists in Sweden perceive research utilization.
The Research Utilization Measure was sent to 807 randomly selected occupational therapists in Sweden, and the response rate was 59% (n = 472).
The majority of respondents (56%, n = 256) reported use of research-based knowledge in their practice "very or rather often", although 49% (n = 225) of the therapists noted that they "very seldom or never" discussed research findings with their managers. Differences in answers for most items were related to degree of education and length of experience. Occupational therapists with higher education levels more often reported use of research in their clinical practice and therapists with greater experience less often reported use of research in their clinical practice.
Education seems to influence the degree to which occupational therapists rely on research to inform their practices. A future challenge for managers and occupational therapists is to create strategic discussions on how to implement treatment that is based on current research.
Although client participation has been part of legislation and clinical guidelines for several years, the evidence of these recommendations being implemented into clinical practice is scarce, especially for people with communication disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate how speech pathologists experienced client participation during the process of goal-setting and clinical decision making for people with aphasia.
Twenty speech pathologists participated in four focus group interviews. A qualitative analysis using Systematic Text Condensation was undertaken.
Analysis revealed three different approaches to client participation: (1) client-oriented, (2) next of kin-oriented and (3) professional-oriented participation. Participants perceived client-oriented participation as the gold standard. The three approaches were described as overlapping, with each having individual characteristics incorporating different facilitators and barriers.
There is a need for greater emphasis on how to involve people with severe aphasia in goal setting and treatment planning, and frameworks made to enhance collaboration could preferably be used. Participants reported use of next of kin as proxies in goal-setting and clinical decision making for people with moderate-to-severe aphasia, indicating the need for awareness towards maintaining the clients' autonomy and addressing the goals of next of kin.
Speech pathologists, and most likely other professionals, should place greater emphasis on client participation to ensure active involvement of people with severe aphasia. To achieve this, existing tools and techniques made to enhance collaborative goal setting and clinical decision making have to be better incorporated into clinical rehabilitation practice. To ensure the autonomy of the person with aphasia, as well as to respect next of kin's own goals, professionals need to make ethical considerations when next of kin are used as proxies in collaborative goal setting and clinical decision making.