The Role of Cultural Competence in Occupational Therapy

October 25, 2018

 

 

Fit For Work Occupational Therapist Rachel Thomas talks about the role of Cultural Competence in Occupational Therapy

Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

I was recently kindly gifted this beautiful Paua Shell and Pounamu from a Maori client that I have been engaging with in a back to work programme.  I was thrilled to receive such a lovely gift, especially because at the beginning of the journey, I noticed that the client had appeared hesitant to engage.  

In order to overcome this obstacle and get the best result for my client, I considered how cultural competence might help in this situation. I started by adapting my communication and style of engagement by acknowledging their culture and identity. I engaged in Karakia before and after our appointments.

These simple practices significantly transformed not only the client’s presentation but also their engagement in the process.  I thought it was important to share this as it’s a kindly reminder of how important our cultural competence is, and I think the outcome has been very rewarding.

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