First Australian Occupational Therapy Case Study

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The Important Role of Occupational Therapy within First Australian Communities
Introduction
Occupational therapists enable people to engage in everyday activities through occupation, which can structure, shape and change people’s lives. Correspondingly, attitudes, values, perceptions and life choices can be shaped by culture (Kinébanian& Stomph, 2010). However, there is inconsistency in the provision of occupational therapy services to clients from different cultures (Darawsheh, Chard & Eklund, 2015). In Australia, there are two Indigenous cultures as part of the Australian nation – Aboriginals and Torres Straight Islanders. For the purpose of this paper they will be referred to as First Australians. When First Australians are in need of
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It is our role as occupational therapists to address social justice in First Australian communities.

Position Statement To engage in effective, culturally relevant and culturally safe practice, it is the position as an occupational therapy student at the University of Sydney that the profession of occupational therapy needs to work towards developing a more appropriate knowledge base and skillset of new graduates and current occupational therapist when working with First Australians in Australia.
Community Strengths and Challenges to receive and access health services First Australians view health in a holistic context, which is not just the physical wellbeing of individuals but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of a whole community (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013). Some of the strengths in the Indigenous culture that contribute to a healthy community include:
• Values of interdependence, group interconnection and having loyalty to ones
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Increase cultural safety – communicate in a respective, inclusive manner and empower individuals to make choices, which builds rapport and the effectiveness of treatment. Asking about their beliefs, illness and culture they identify with.
4. Use a cultural translator (Indigenous health worker) - to translate and provide understanding behind different cultural meanings (Pigeon, 2015).
5. Promote educational opportunities for occupational therapist to expand their knowledge of First Australian health - Provide and attend workshops and courses on Indigenous health to increase cultural awareness and sensitivity. Provide education and training to reflect on the current and accepted approaches within the First Australian communities
6. Adapting assessment tools to be more culturally relevant - use elders and significant family or local health workers’ knowledge to clarify how tasks are normally completed. Having assumptions about the way routines and tasks are completely may not be the same (Pigeon, 2015).
7. Promote access to occupational therapy services – Recruit, train and maintain Aboriginal and Torres Strait island health workforce, who are responsible for the cultural needs in rural and remote areas (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
8. Promote profession specific research that expands the knowledge base for working with First

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