Addressing poverty within everyday occupational therapy practice: a value-based approach

Mrs Heidi Cathcart1, Professor Mary Butler2

1Otago Polytechnic, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Poverty is a significant global issue that is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights, and the United Nations is committed to the eradication of extreme poverty. Although New Zealand does not experience the extreme deprivation seen in developing nations, poverty is an area of growing concern. The widespread nature of poverty means that it is important for occupational therapists to be aware of the impact of poverty on their clients, therapeutic interventions, and the services they provide.

This presentation will explore how occupational therapists in New Zealand engage with issues of poverty. It is based on research where participants reflected on the types of poverty they encounter in practice, how poverty impacts occupational participation and engagement with health services, and how therapists respond to poverty within existing roles. The impact of service poverty and funding restrictions on meaningful outcomes was also explored.

This research highlighted the everyday nature of engaging with poverty, and this presentation will examine the ways that occupational therapists use their hearts, heads, and hands, to understand, grapple with, and respond in practical ways to the complexities of poverty. Value based healthcare can be seen as primarily interested in economics, but it is also about a value agenda that achieves best outcomes at minimal cost without sacrificing quality. By engaging with poverty in this way, occupational therapists can provide value based healthcare that is both cost-effective and meaningful for clients, while also minimising experiences of moral distress by remaining faithful to personal and professional values.


Biography:

Bio to come.

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