The emergency room is one of the main healthcare service access points (Lee et al., 2001. MSSS, 1998, 2004, 2010). During the course of a patient’s visit to emergency, the treatment team must quickly determine whether the person should be admitted and what type of follow-up to recommend upon discharge. Emergency department responders call on occupational therapists to assess the functional status of senior patients (Lee et al., 2001; Hendrikson & Harrisson, 2001; Carlill et al., 2002; Smith & Rees, 2002; Johnson et al., 2009; Veillette et al., 2007, 2009). Several studies have even concluded that assessing functional status in the ED results in positive-impact interventions for senior patients. (Aminzadeh, 2002; Lee et al., 2001; McCusker et al., 2003; Shah et al., 2003).

Occupational therapy in the emergency department

Occupational therapy in emergency departments is a recognized professional practice in several clinical settings; however, to date, there exists little data to measure its importance. The fact that occupational therapists work in emergency departments is well known, but their work is not well documented because it is innovative and still considered as emergent in clinical settings. When occupational therapists are active in emergency departments, they often act as consultants rather than a member of an interdisciplinary team. However, over the course of the last few decades, thanks to changes in how emergency departments are organized, more and more occupational therapists have gravitated to these departments.

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