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Experiences of 'virtual' occupational therapy service delivery in Wales

Ingham, Laura, Burke, Jan and Purcell, Catherine ORCID: 2023. Experiences of 'virtual' occupational therapy service delivery in Wales. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 10.1177/03080226231208050

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Introduction: COVID-19 accelerated the implementation of virtual working at pace, which carries the risk of missed opportunities for shared learning across organisations and services. This study therefore investigated the experiences of ‘virtual working’ among occupational therapy (OT) staff and students in Wales. The objectives were to establish the meaning of virtual working for occupational therapists (OTs), identify the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the technologies used to support virtual working and explore the specific contextual factors that impact on service delivery. Method: An online questionnaire was completed by 191 registered and unregistered OT staff and students working in Wales, and 11 semi-structured interviews were conducted in a convergent mixed methods design. Results and Findings: The questionnaire data confirmed that the use of virtual working has increased and impacts all areas of service delivery. The semi-structured interviews identified three themes: the art of OT, keeping doors open and looking forward. Conclusion: Virtual working can improve access to services, but one size does not fit all and its use in person centred care should be carefully considered. Virtual working should not compromise high quality service provision and the risks of virtual working to staff’s mental and physical health needs to be considered.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0308-0226
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 September 2023
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2023 19:40

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