Nov 29 / Jaclyn Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L & Katherine Aylmer, OTD, OTR/L

4 Key Strategies that Occupational Therapy Practitioners Can Use in Addressing Medication Management Within An Interdisciplinary Team

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Welcome to guest blogger and Aspire OT instructors:

Jaclyn Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L & 

Katherine Aylmer, OTD, OTR/L

Aspire OT is always excited to celebrate OTs, OTAs, and students who make an impact.

Dr. Schwartz’s work is focused on improving medication adherence across populations. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. 

Dr. Katie Aylmer is a research occupational therapist and student mentor with extensive experience in addressing medication management with a variety of clients. 

Across the continuum of care occupational therapy practitioners work on interdisciplinary teams to help clients reach their goals. While most health care practitioners agree that health care is a team sport, sometimes implementing a team-based approach can be difficult. For example, helping clients to manage and take their medications is addressed by multiple professionals in different ways. How can occupational therapy practitioners better engage in interdisciplinary practice? We will discuss four key strategies and give examples using the context of medication management. 

1). Know your role: Be confident in your role in the area as an occupational therapy practitioner. If you need to advocate for your role, use key resources like the scholarly literature, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Official Documents, or your state’s practice act to support your discussions. In the context of medication management, there are articles describing occupational therapy interventions and official documents describing the role of occupational therapy practitioners in medication management.

2. Understand the responsibilities of team members and help them reach their goals:
Each member of the team has a unique set of clinical goals and job demands (like documentation burden or allotted direct clinical care time). Discuss how you as the occupational therapy practitioner can help your colleagues achieve their job duties. For example, in medication management, prescribers across specialty areas prescribe medications. Nurses engage in a variety of roles from education to training and administration. Pharmacist and pharmacy techs fill the medication and offer additional education. Occupational therapy practitioners, by focusing on translating training to home, enhances the education provided by other clinicians throughout the process. 

3. Focus on the end goal: Across the health care team, clinicians are working to help the client improve their health and function. Encourage the team to consider how all team members can work together to reach the goal. For example, in medication management, a client who takes their medication as prescribed to improve their health and well-being is a win for the client and all members of the team.  

4. Support structure: Work with leadership in the facility to standardize and structure team roles to minimize redundancy and improve impact. In the context of medication management, this might look like the nurse completing the initial medication education and the occupational therapy practitioner assessing understanding and identifying strategies to ensure medications are taken. Standardization or structuring roles can include strategies like creating or amending the facilities standardized assessment battery or making a decision tree for when to address specific topics.

 Role conflict can feel uncomfortable, but by understanding one’s role and the role of others, focusing on the end goal, and creating structure, interdisciplinary health care teams can work together to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes. 

Coming soon

Occupational Therapy's Role in Medication Management & Adherence

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