O'Connor, B., Kerr, C., Shields, N. & Imms, C. (2019). Understanding allied health practitioners’ use of evidence-based assessments for children with cerebral palsy: A mixed methods study. Disability and Rehabilitation,41 53-65. United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis Australasia. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1373376
Evidence-based assessments for children with cerebral palsy are not widely used by healthcare professionals in day-to-day practice. This study aimed to examine allied health practitioner experiences, perceptions, and use of assessments for children with cerebral palsy.
A mixed methods study was conducted in two rehabilitation organisations. Three focus group interviews explored therapists’assessment experiences with data analysed using interpretive description. Assessment practices of therapists (n¼55) were assessed through self-report questionnaire and case-file audit of children with cerebral palsy (n¼44).
Emergent themes described therapists’motivation to use evidence-based assessments on a behavioural continuum–Idon’t; I can’t; I try; I do; We do; influenced by assessment satisfaction, child and family collaboration, organisational expectation, research fit, and time dedication. Only two of fifteen audited assessments were documented in more than 50% of files. Use was higher where assessments positively connected therapists, children and parents, and use was organisationally endorsed. TheCultural Conefor evidence-based assessment behaviour was conceptualised.
“Engagement in”assessment appears to require a conceptual shift by therapists and organi- sations to understanding assessment as part of, not an adjunct to, therapy. The Cultural Cone framework may assist therapists and services in designing strategies to promote evidence-based assessment behaviours.
School of Allied Health
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