ANFE has about 980 members (there are about 7,353 occupational therapists working in France today). The aim of the association is to represent and to promote the interests and the quality of occupational therapy in France. For 49 years ANFE has tried to make it easier for members of the profession to practice and to further exchange between the members.
The main objectives of the ANFE are:
- Help members to access opportunities for education, professional training and research in O.T.
- To further local, national and international contacts.
- To inform government ministries, French organisations and associations about the profession and the services OTs can offer.
- To take part in the work of committees of health and social structures.
The continuing proffessional development service:
The continuing professional development of occupational therapists is organized by the professional association and occupational therapy training institutes. It is open to everyone. More than 50 courses are organized each year, in all aspects of the profession. Their aim are to
- update knowledge,
- to study new concepts
- to apply new therapeutic approaches.
Themes vary: re-education, psychiatry, rehabilitation, private practice… The goal is to provide OTs in all spheres of practice with up-to-date knowledge. These courses are mostly organized outside work, but some are organized within healthcare institutions. It depends of the needs. The relationship established with both European and Canadian continuing education services enable us to offer new theoretical concepts and ways of practicing.
ANFE publishing :
The journal called "ErgOThérapies" is the main medium of the association to publish scientific articles about occupational therapy. This magazine is known and respected by OTs. It is published on a three monthly basis.
ANFE edits a lot of books, leaflets, abstracts and other professional documents.
ANFE also publishes a newsletter for its members about the activities of the association and the news relating to occupational therapy in general.
The current demands on ANFE
Since 1997, ANFE has been emphasizing the need for an evolution of the professional description of OT. When it was drawn up in 1986, this decree did not clarify the possibility to practice at patient's home. Nevertheless this practice is rapidly increasing because of the demand by disabled persons or social and healthcare centres. That is why it is urgent to make clear that occupational therapy can be practiced not only in healthcare institutions, but also at the patient's home, office and everywhere the patient may be occupied. OTs who provide treatment or intervention in the new French structures (SVA, Handiscol, CLIC) or in private practice could be supported in their work at the patient's home. This extension of the decree must be added to the adoption of an OT's job description, in the same way that an OT is reimbursed for providing treatment by the French heathcare system.
As doctors can prescribe treatment; OTs themselves could decide to prescribe others forms or care or intervention, especially in the areas of prevention, education, evaluation and advice. It is important to make this clear.
Furthermore, some new fields of activities have been created or have been developed considerably for OTs in:
- palliative care,
- new technologies,
- insurance companies,
- mutual benefit societies,
- ocal authorities.
The official texts, which define the profession, must mention of these new spheres of activities.
Rise in the number of professionals
To supply the new institutions (CLIC, MDPH, Handiscol) and to help disabled people in their pursuit of autonomy, more OTs are required. In France, there are only 8 OTs for 100 000 inhabitants. The 7500 OTs practicing in France are not enough for the needs expressed by doctors, associations of disabled or ill persons, or healthcare system. The demographic development of the French population is leading to a increase of old and dependent persons. Furthermore these people are asking to stay at home as long as possible that is why it is important to consider the necessity for OTs to work at patient's home. That is why new OT programms should be creatd in the next years, and our association is working on it.
Reform of the training of occupational therapists
Considerations of health and social needs and anticipate their development must be included in the training. It is necessary to reform the program and :
- To develop aspects of vocational re-training more in rehabilitation.
- To accentuate the education in new technologies
- To put into practice the European agreement
- training courses must be taught at university,
- creation of education credits,
- possibility to study or work abroad,
- initiation to research
- To facilitate changes of orientation between the professions of the health and social field.
The career's development offers three possibilities
OTs must have access to these 3 possibilities. Since 1992 ANFE is member of UIPARM (inter-professional union of associations of rehabilitators and medical technicians) in order to make progress some areas common to all the paramedical professions. The access to a diploma of health manager for any paramedical worker after 5 years of work experience is an example. Nowadays, UIPARM is negotiating the same career development for the rehabilitators as the one proposed for nurses.