How context influences person-centred practice: a critical-creative case study examining the use of research evidence in occupational therapy with people living with dementia.
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Kinsella, N., Pentland, D. and McCormack, B. (2023) ‘How context influences person-centred practice: A critical-creative case study examining the use of research evidence in occupational therapy with people living with dementia’, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 30(3), pp. 398–414. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/11038128.2022.2119162.
Occupational therapists are encouraged to use research evidence to guide therapeutic interventions that holistically address the consequences of dementia. Recent efforts to use research evidence in practice have emphasized the challenges of doing so in ways aligned to person-centred and professional principles. Using research evidence is a complex process influenced by multiple contextual factors and layers. The influence of context in occupational therapy for dementia is currently unclear. To explore the contextual complexities of using research evidence in practice with people with dementia, and to develop knowledge to improve the approach to using evidence in person-centred, occupation-focused practice. A case study methodology was used, in which the contextual conditions of practice were clarified through the facilitation of critical and creative reflection using the following methods - Think Aloud, practice observation, creative expression and reflective dialogue. Cultural beliefs that affected evidence use included technically-orientated understandings of evidence-based practice. These were underpinned by apprehensions about losing professional identity and taking risks when processes derived from research evidence were adjusted to incorporate a persons' occupations. These cultural factors were perpetuated at the organizational layers of context, where systemic priorities and other team members' needs disproportionately influenced occupational therapists' decisions. Occupational therapists' potential to make reflexive and responsive decisions by adjusting evidence-based processes can be affected by their perceived freedom to address organizational tensions. Raising consciousness of the influence of the organizational context on decision-making about evidence use could adjust occupational therapists' perceptions of their freedom and ability to be person-centred. Intentionality in reflective processes in practice are required to foster reflexivity.