Objective. The purpose of this integrative literature review was to summarize and analyze the methods used to develop critical pathways.

Method. Relevant articles published in occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, and medical journals between 1992 and 1997 were reviewed to extract various methods and the steps or criteria used for each method.

Results. Nine approaches to critical pathway development and the steps or criteria involved in each method are presented in tabular format. The most detailed approach was used as a gold standard, and the other approaches were compared to it.

Conclusion. This review should assist occupational therapy practitioners working with various diagnostic populations to understand the methods used, and steps involved, in the development of critical pathways. It should also serve as a resource for practitioners who have the opportunity to participate in critical pathway development.

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