Defining Intra-disciplinary practice: Occupational Therapist perspectives within community health

Miss Melissa Evans1, Dr Haylee Lane1, Dr Danielle Hitch2,3, Dr Genevieve Pepin2

1IPC Health, Melbourne, Australia, 2Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, 3Western Health, Melbourne, Australia

There is limited discussion of intra-disciplinary practices within occupational therapy or healthcare literature more broadly, with varied definitions of intra-disciplinary practice.

This study explored how Occupational Therapists in community health define and apply Intra-disciplinary practice. Ongoing changes in Australian healthcare have created concern that ‘fee for service’ funding in community health may be a barrier for intra-disciplinary practice. To date, there has been limited discussion.

To describe Occupational Therapists perspectives on intra-disciplinary practice in community health settings, to inform decision-making and ongoing implementation of intra-disciplinary practice in community settings.

This study utilised a mixed methods approach, gathering data via a national online survey. Occupational therapists who had worked within Australian community health services within the past 12 months, in roles that involved home visiting and prescription of assistive technology and/or home modification, were invited to participate. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, while qualitative responses were analysed thematically.

This project is currently underway, and will be reported in full at the conference. Results will provide a greater understanding of how intra-disciplinary practice is defined and applied by community occupational therapists.

The benefits of providing opportunities for Occupational Therapists to collaborate in community health services must be balanced against the challenges systemic structures and practices pose to this form of practice. The findings of this study will provide an evidence-base upon which further development of intra-disciplinary practice can be founded and how its use translates more broadly across other allied health disciplines.


Melissa Evans currently works as an Occupational Therapist at IPC Health, a large community health service in Melbourne’s west. Melissa has a range of clinical experience having worked in mental health services and community health services in Australia and the UK.

Haylee Lane currently works as an Occupational therapist at IPC Health, a large community health service in Melbourne’s west. Haylee has a range of clinical experience within acute, subacute and community health settings. Haylee has also completed a PhD exploring equity and decision making within allied health resource allocation.

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