Scope of practice review: providers for triage and assessment of spine-related disorders
Authors Boakye O, Birney A, Suter E, Phillips L, Suen V
Received 3 October 2015
Accepted for publication 20 January 2016
Published 10 May 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 227—235
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser
Omenaa Boakye,1 Arden Birney,1 Esther Suter,1 Leah Adeline Phillips,2 Victoria YM Suen3
1Workforce Research and Evaluation, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, 2College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta, Edmonton, 3Addiction and Mental Health SCN, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Purpose: This study explored which health care providers could be involved in centralized intake for patients with nonspecific low back pain to enhance access, continuity, and appropriateness of care.
Methods: We reviewed the scope of practice regulations for a range of health care providers. We also conducted telephone interviews with 17 individuals representing ten provincial colleges and regulatory bodies to further understand providers' legislated scopes of practice. Activities relevant to triaging and assessing patients with low back pain were mapped against professionals' scope of practice.
Results: Family physicians and nurse practitioners have the most comprehensive scopes and can complete all restricted activities for spine assessment and triage, while the scope of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are progressively narrower. Chiropractors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and athletic therapists are considered experts in musculoskeletal assessments and appear best suited for musculoskeletal specific assessment and triage. Other providers may play a complementary role depending on the individual patient needs.
Conclusion: These findings indicate that an interprofessional assessment and triage team that includes allied health professionals would be a feasible option to create a centralized intake model. Implementation of such teams would require removing barriers that currently prevent providers from delivering on their full scope of practice.
Keywords: scope of practice review, low back pain, integrated service model, centralized intake, interprofessional team
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