Framing occupational therapists' knowledge and beliefs of alcohol misuse in physical health care settings
MacLean, F. (2016) Framing occupational therapists' knowledge and beliefs of alcohol misuse in physical health care settings, no. 191.
Background: Research exploring occupational therapists' knowledge, beliefs and practice associated with alcohol misuse in physical health care settings is scarce, despite the recognition that professionals are likely to work with people who misuse alcohol irrespective of practice context. Furthermore, the relationship between pre-registration occupational therapy education and practice in the area of alcohol misuse is currently poorly understood. Aims: This critical appraisal aims to (a) frame the knowledge gaps and existing knowledge of occupational therapists related to alcohol misuse in physical health care settings, through the findings of five prima facie case papers and; (b) align this framed knowledge to wider professional literature in order to extend professional understanding of the relationship between education and practice, associated with alcohol misuse in physical health care settings. Methodology: A gap analysis approach was selected and modified to provide a way of critically introspecting and occupationally classifying the gaps in, and existing knowledge of, student occupational therapists, practitioners and educators linked to physical health care settings and alcohol misuse, as reported in the five papers. The introspective data linked to gaps and existing knowledge was unified and general inductive qualitative analysis undertaken. One practitioner working in physical assessment for older people in an acute hospital, and one occupational therapy educator provided stakeholder feedback of the tentative themes generated, further refining the analysis of data. Findings: Two themes emerged from the analysis of data; delimiters of professional education and conceptual contradictions. These indicate there is a need to educate 'educators' concerning the value of teaching alcohol-related policy as part of educational programmes, and in raising the visibility of alcohol as a topic. Therapists valued the Person Environment Occupation Model (PEO Model), however the essence of 'transaction' fundamental to this model, lacks fidelity in practice. Practitioners appear to separate out the entities of person and environment, placing greater emphasis on the observable aspects of the environment rather than the person, to support timely discharge. Thus, current practice in physical health care supports a process of occupational evaporation connected to alcohol misuse. Conclusion: These findings help to inform the future direction of educational and practice developments connected to patients' alcohol misuse in physical health care settings, and in so doing, advance and re-emphasise the importance of the centrality of occupation to service delivery.