Cultural differences: The experience of establishing an occupational therapy service in a developing community

Journal article


Bourke-Taylor, Helen Maree and Hudson, Dawn. (2005) Cultural differences: The experience of establishing an occupational therapy service in a developing community. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 52(3), pp. 188 - 198. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1630.2005.00493.x
AuthorsBourke-Taylor, Helen Maree and Hudson, Dawn
Abstract

Aim: This paper documents the subjective experience of a Western trained occupational therapist as she establishes a service in a community that is developing its health-care services. The community is located in the Dominican Republic. Method and Results: Ethnographic interviewing was used to document the tasks and events that occurred during this 6 month project. Challenges arose related to the region's developing health, education and community services, training the local workers and the reaction of the recipients of occupational therapy service. The contrast in beliefs, values and cultural customs between the therapist and the local people contributed to the challenge. Conclusion: This study indicates that exporting Western occupational therapy services without any changes causes significant conflict for the professional and the clients. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the importance of understanding cultural differences between the therapist and client, as well as the need for occupational therapy services in communities that seek to improve the health and abilities of the local people requiring rehabilitation services.

Keywordscommunity development; culture; ethnographic methodology; occupational therapy; rehabilitation
Year2005
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Journal citation52 (3), pp. 188 - 198
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
ISSN0045-0766
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1630.2005.00493.x
Page range188 - 198
Research GroupSchool of Allied Health
Place of publicationAustralia
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