3. Scopes of Practice
To provide guidance to healthcare providers and to patients seeking the appropriate healthcare providers for the appropriate care, an understanding of the scope of practice for each healthcare profession typically involved in concussion care will be provided. This should further strengthen collective competence in concussion care. Professional regulating bodies in Ontario were contacted to determine the guidance and information they provide to their members related to standards of care for concussive injuries. There is value in working with regulated health professionals as there is a complaints process available to them and quality assurance measures in place. This is not the case with non-regulated healthcare professionals. This does not imply that non-regulated professionals are not knowledgeable, capable and competent; it is just to point out that there is no regulatory body that they are accountable to and who will act to protect the public from professional misconduct.
In Ontario, the regulatory bodies for the recognized healthcare professions provide general direction in the form of standards of practice. There is no defined scope of practice for concussion for each discipline, except for Speech Language Pathology. In some cases, general information about education, assessment, and/or treatment for brain injury formed the sole guiding standards.
In the absence of specific standards of practice or guidelines related to concussion care, it is important to use the defined scopes of practice for each regulated healthcare profession and the protected acts they are able to perform. Currently, many regulatory bodies are considering whether they should be developing specific scopes of practice for concussion care. ONF will be working collaboratively with the professional regulating bodies to facilitate and encourage the development of specific scopes of practice for concussion care as they have indicated interest in developing this relationship.
The chart below provides a summary of the defined scopes of practice for various healthcare professionals.
- Most of the healthcare professional regulating bodies do not have specific standards of practice or guidelines related to concussion care; the general scope of practice is the default practice guideline
- Healthcare providers must be mindful to always work within their scope of practice and their level of competence
- ONF will be working with the professional regulating bodies to facilitate and encourage the development of specific scopes of practice for concussion care