Identifying the characteristics of occupation-centred practice: A Delphi study

Aust Occup Ther J. 2021 Sep 7. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12765. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Occupation-centred practice is key to aligning with the contemporary paradigm. Benefits of this approach for clients and the profession are well documented, yet how to identify occupation-centred practice is not yet understood. Therefore, this study aimed to uncover the characteristics of occupation-centred practice and how they can be identified in practice.

METHODS: A three round Delphi survey was conducted to gain consensus on the defining characteristics of occupation-centred practice. Purposive, convenience, and snowball sampling were used to distribute three survey rounds to occupational therapists internationally. Content analysis was used to create characteristics, descriptions, and examples of occupation-centred practice. Percentage agreement between occupational therapists were calculated to determine consensus.

RESULTS: Responses were received from 100 participants in round one, 89 in round two, and 70 in round three. Round one generated 12 characteristics that were refined and finalised into four defining characteristics, one of which had three subcharacteristics. The four characteristics are as follows: guided by theory and philosophy grounded in occupation, language and documentation promotes occupation among stakeholders, understanding and incorporating the person’s context, and occupation as core to practice, which includes occupation in goal setting, assessment, and intervention. Descriptions and examples were generated for each characteristic.

CONCLUSION: This study presents valuable information for occupational therapists wanting to practise in an occupation-centred manner. The characteristics, descriptions, and examples provide a foundation upon which occupational therapists can understand and identify occupation-centred practice. Examples provided were highly influenced by factors including practice settings and preferred terminology. Future research will explore the creation of a tool for occupational therapists to evaluate their own practice against the characteristics to demonstrate areas of strength and for development.

PMID:34490901 | DOI:10.1111/1440-1630.12765

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