Date Presented 04/01/2022

Parents and caregivers of newborns and infants rely on the expertise of primary care physicians (PCPs) to provide guidance throughout their child’s earliest stages of life. PCPs currently lack time and resources, limiting information imparted at periodicity visits regarding infant health, growth, and development. This study explores perceptions of health care clinicians pertaining to the addition of OTs to provide education during periodicity visits to bridge the gap.

Primary Author and Speaker: Sonja Burmeister

Additional Authors and Speakers: Maria Nagle

Contributing Authors: Lauren Kresge, Alexis Brenner, Trisha MacLeod, Rebecca McMaster

PURPOSE: This study explores perceptions of healthcare clinicians on the involvement of occupational therapists (OTs) during well-baby visits to provide developmental milestone screening and education. As well-baby visits are becoming shorter, it is more difficult for healthcare professionals to provide adequate caregiver education. Occupational therapy practitioners are qualified as developmental specialists. They can fill the gap in developmental screening and caregiver education to improve the quality of perinatal care and support primary care delivery.

DESIGN: This descriptive cross-sectional study collected data through the use of a survey to quantitatively analyze the perceptions of perinatal physicians and advanced care practitioners (OBGYNs, Pediatricians, and Primary Care Physicians) on the integration of OT into the primary care setting for the purpose of assessing developmental milestones and providing parental guidance.

METHOD: Ninety-five physicians and advanced practice clinicians (obstetricians, pediatricians and primary care physicians) recruited from professional social media groups completed an online survey about their perceptions on the role of occupational therapy intervention during well-baby visits. The researchers developed the 13-question Qualtrics XM survey composed of Likert-type psychometric rating scales based on a review of the literature and professional white papers.

RESULTS: Seventy-nine percent of respondents believed the inclusion of occupational therapy during a well-baby visit would be beneficial in providing preventative education and developmental guidance. Findings indicate a discrepancy in perceptions between caregivers and healthcare clinicians regarding the sufficiency of resources provided during well-baby visits.

CONCLUSION: The majority of surveyed clinicians report occupational therapy as a valuable asset in the education of caregivers during well-baby visits. Occupational therapists have expertise in child development and can promote comprehension of critical developmental stages through caregiver education in an effort to promote infant health and well-being. Additionally, occupational therapists can alleviate the exigency faced during well-baby visits for the primary care provider. These findings support the need for advancing caregiver education within the primary care setting.


Jordan, K. (2019). Occupational therapy in primary care: Positioned and prepared to be a vital part of the team. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(5), 7305170010.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Suppl. 2), 7412410010.