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Occupational Therapy Consultation for Case Managers in Community Mental Health: Exploring Strategies to Improve Job Satisfaction and Self-Efficacy

Chapleau, Ann DHS, MS, OTR/L; Seroczynski, A.D. PhD; Meyers, Susan EdD, MBA, OTR/L, FAOTA; Lamb, Kristen BA; Haynes, Susan MS, OTR/L

doi: 10.1097/NCM.0b013e3181f0555b
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The purpose of this study was 2-fold: (1) to examine to what extent case managers' job satisfaction and self-efficacy were impacted by the addition of an occupational therapy consultation model and (2) to identify factors that both positively and negatively impacted the occupational therapy consultation services.

Primary Practice Setting: The study was conducted at a mental health community support program in a local homeless center.

Methodology and Sample: In a 2-year study, a mixed-methods design was used to study changes over time in job satisfaction and perceived self-efficacy among 14 case managers who received ongoing occupational therapy consultation. Job satisfaction and self-efficacy data were obtained using standardized questionnaires. Qualitative data related to factors impacting the consultation program were obtained using open-ended written questions, focus groups, and individual interviews.

Results: Statistically significant differences in job satisfaction and perceptions of self-efficacy were found 18 months into the study, when case managers were more actively seeking occupational therapy consultation services and were reporting improved client outcomes from occupational therapy intervention. In addition, themes related to both positive and negative factors impacting the occupational therapy consultation program were identified and provided useful data for development of future consultation services.

Implication for Case Management Practice: Results suggest that ongoing training and professional support for case managers who are paraprofessionals and/or new to mental health practice may improve job satisfaction and efficacy. Occupational therapy consultation may be helpful in developing services for health promotion, including self-care management, cognitive assessments, activity-based programming, and home safety evaluation and modification. In addition, new graduates and paraprofessional case managers working with clients who are high utilizers of services may benefit from smaller caseloads and support from clinical professionals.

Ann Chapleau, DHS, MS, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University. She has more than 24 years of clinical and managerial experience in community mental health. Her research focus is homelessness prevention and interventions for persons with severe mental illness and addiction.

A.D. Seroczynski, PhD, is Research Associate at the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame. During this project, she served as Director of Research at the community mental health center where the study was conducted. Her current research focus is character education research with first-time offending juveniles. She can be contacted at 154 IEI Bldg, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Susan Meyers, EdD, MBA, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Director of RESOURCE Foundation, Inc. During this project, she was faculty and research advisor at the University of Indianapolis. She can be contacted at 1955 Rhettsbury St, Carmel, Indiana.

Kristen Lamb, BA, served as Research Assistant during this project. She can be contacted at 304 Carriage Hill Dr, Athens, Ohio.

Susan Haynes, MS, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Spalding University. She can be contacted at 1736 Harvard Dr, Louisville, Kentucky.

Address correspondence to Ann Chapleau, DHS, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (ann.chapleau@wmich.edu).

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.