Use of Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) to increase efficiency in high demand Occupational Therapy (OT) Vascular Outpatient Clinic

Miss Laila Bar1

1GCUH Hospital, Southport, Australia

Patients are medically referred to Occupational Therapy for graduated compression garments for a variety of vascular conditions.  In 2014, the Gold Coast Health Occupational Therapy Vascular Outpatient clinics implemented a delegation model to OTAs for direct patient care to provide a more innovative service.  This model has included development of Calderdale Competencies for OTA training and supporting working instructions for each delegated task. OTs provide clinical governance and developmental support to the OTAs to ensure quality of care. This model of care change has allowed an increasing number of referrals to be seen, with no increase in OT FTE while still providing comprehensive evidence based care to our patients.

Examples of delegated tasks:

  1. OTA facilitates twice monthly Vein Procedure groups for patients and carers including provision of standardised education, and measurement and fitting of appropriate stockings under the guidance of OT for vein procedures including: Radio Frequency Ablation, Sclerotherapy and Vein Stripping.
  2. OTA Phone Follow-ups to patients after face-to-face OT contact for fitting a compression stocking e.g. in outpatient clinic or emergency department. This includes checking fit of garments, clarifying any difficulties or escalating patient concerns to treating therapist. Phone calls are conducted using a standardized format with escalation pathways for patients to then be provided with a face to face OT appointment as needed.


  • Increased number of patients reviewed by OTA or OT with appropriate escalation pathways.
  • With more efficient patient flow through service – OT’s can focus more time on complex patients.
  • Shortened wait lists and increased ability time-wise to be responsive to referrals
  • Patients are provided evidence-based care with both OTs and OTA with appropriate safety nets and escalation pathways in place.


Laila Bar is an Occupational Therapist having graduated from the University of Qld in 1997. She has specialised in Vascular and Lymphoedema conditions and is a certified Lymphoedema Practitioner. Laila is currently acting Senior OT in Cancer Outpatients at the Gold Coast University Hospital. She has worked passionately to assist to develop the Vascular/Lymphoedema/Cancer service across the GCUH and Robina Hospital campuses and focuses on efficiencies and improving patient care. She has lectured at Bond University and has a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience to others.

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