Background

In order to respond to the growing demand for occupational-therapy services set against a paucity of workers, the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec (OEQ; Quebec college of occupational therapists) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) recognize the potential contribution of support personnel (referred to in Quebec as non-occupational-therapist personnel) to providing occupational-therapy services. An occupational therapist must exercise professional judgment in assigning part of his or her clinical activities, when appropriate, to a non-occupational therapist such as determining a client’s need for bathing equipment in simple clinical situations. The occupational therapist remains responsible for the services provided and must offer support, such as supervision and training, to non-occupational-therapist personnel.

 

In addition, OEQ recognizes that the manager of a health-care institution can establish that non-occupational-therapist personnel will be responsible for delivering certain services traditionally provided to the population by an occupational therapist, such as determining the need for bathing equipment. OEQ therefore encourages Quebec occupational therapists to work with managers, for example, by taking part in the development of service-delivery protocols and training non-occupational-therapist personnel to perform certain clinical activities.

 

In these two contexts, the non-occupational-therapist personnel involved in determining the need for bathing equipment should have a tool to assist their decision-making (i.e., observation sheets and decision trees). In 2008, Manon Guay, then an occupational therapist at the Memphrémagog HSSC, requested the collaboration of Professor Johanne Desrosiers, OT, PhD and Professor Marie-France Dubois, PhD, of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, both researchers at the Research Center on Aging of the HSSC–University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke, in developing such a tool and then to measure some of its metrological qualities.

 

Premised on the conviction that clinical settings have promising initiatives, Algo is the product of a research team’s work enriched by ideas from Quebec providers. We are grateful to Danielle Desnoyers, the clinicians, and the managers who collaborated closely on this project. Their novel ideas; expertise; and sound, relevant comments have made Algo an instrument rooted in clinical reality and based on evidence. We also want to thank the organizations who provided financial support for the development and validation of Algo: Estrie Health and Social-Services Agency, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec, Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et sécurité du travail, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, the doctoral-level microprogram on analyzing and assessing health-care interventions at the University of Montréal, Provincial rehabilitation research network and Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec.