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Prescribing mobility scooters in Australia: Occupational therapists' narratives.

Maywald A, et al. Aust Occup Ther J. 2015.


BACKGROUND/AIM: In order for older people to remain active and engaged as they age they need to be mobile in the community. One way of maintaining community mobility is through the use of a mobility scooter. Occupational therapists are key health professionals involved with assessing for mobility scooters yet minimal research exists into the experience. This study sought to explore occupational therapists' experiences of assessing for mobility scooters to older people in Australia.

METHODS: A qualitative study was undertaken in which narratives were solicited from 18 occupational therapists involved in scooter assessment to people aged 65 or over. Interview data were analysed following narrative analysis guidelines.

RESULTS: Analysis revealed six predominant narratives ranging from two success stories to the narrative of disempowerment and stories of negotiating risk. Experienced therapists had more resources and skills to draw on to manage the complexity of prescription and negotiation of risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study suggest that novices or those new to mobility scooter prescription need to access supervision and support to improve the chances of having a successful outcome. Further exploration of how therapists manage situations of vulnerability and risk is warranted to prevent burnout for therapists and reduce the likelihood of restricting clients' occupational potential. Continuing professional development activities are also recommended.

© 2014 Occupational Therapy Australia.


24825351 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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