Occupation-based practice in a tertiary hospital setting: occupational therapists’ perceptions and experiences
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Occupation-based practice is an important feature of occupational therapy. There is however limited research regarding occupational therapists’ experiences with occupation-based practice. This study aimed to explore occupational therapists’ perceptions and experiences regarding occupation-based practice in a tertiary hospital setting in the Western Cape, South Africa. An explorative and descriptive research design within a qualitative research approach was utilised. Purposive sampling allowed the selection of four participants with a minimum of 2 years practice experience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of how they perceived and implemented occupation-based practice. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes emerged: occupation-based practice expresses professional identity; occupation-based practice necessitates relevance; constraints to occupation-based practice; and facilitators of occupation-based practice. The findings revealed that the participants’ perceived the implementation of occupation-based practice as an expression of their professional identity and that in adopting an occupation-based approach they perceived their roles as being diverse and transformational. It was however highlighted that the nature of the service context posed several constraints that influenced the implementation of occupation-based practice. Thus, occupational therapists may need to generate practice-based evidence to advocate for the service conditions necessary to implement occupation-based practice and deliver relevant occupational therapy services.