Training Needs of Paediatric Occupational Therapists in eating and drinking occupations for children with dysphagia



Occupational therapists are a part of the team to support children and infants presenting with eating and drinking difficulties as a result of dysphagia, yet the available literature shows limited focus on training requirements of UK-based occupational therapists working in dysphagia management. This qualitative research project's aim was to explore the training needs and the barriers and opportunities to accessing training in this area. Nine virtual, semi-structured interviews were completed across stakeholder groups (occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and parents). Interviews were transcribed and reflexive thematic analysis was completed. Four themes generated were, the role of occupational therapists, logistics of accessing training, interdisciplinary working and training pathways. Occupational therapists do not have a consensus definition of their role in dysphagia practice, compared to speech and language therapists. The positive impacts of interdisciplinary workings on competencies are reflected, where the realities of current practice are identified by therapists and parents alike. The COVID-19 Pandemic bought opportunities and barriers in relation to the logistics of accessing training. A greater understanding and definition of the role of occupational therapy in dysphagia is required, and a formal competency document may be beneficial to facilitate the identification of appropriate professional development for occupational therapists. Future research into this area is required to develop an understanding of training needs in this area of practice.
Date made available25 May 2023
PublisherUlster University

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