Medical Incapacity Management in the South African private industrial sector: The role of the occupational therapist

Ravashni Govender, Pragashnie Govender, December Mandlenkosi Mpanza


Background: Occupational therapists working in the field of occupational health in South African private industrial sectors may find
themselves involved in management of medical incapacity due to their expertise in vocational rehabilitation.
Aim: In this study, the authors explored how South African Acts guide the role and scope of occupational therapists in medical
incapacity management, in addition to determining the scope, role and value of occupational therapy in medical incapacity management
from the perspectives of occupational therapists currently working in the field.
Method: An exploratory qualitative design with use of two concurrent methods of data collection (document analysis and semi
structured interviews) was undertaken. Data were analysed thematically, via deductive reasoning, and pooled to provide a picture of
how occupational therapists can function within medical incapacity management.
Results and Discussion: Six themes emerged from the data. Occupational therapists’ role and scope within legislature appears
to lack detail with a disjuncture between legislation that guides medical incapacity management and current practice of occupational
therapists. Notwithstanding this, the findings of this study show that occupational therapists play a critical role within management
of medical incapacity.

Key words: Vocational rehabilitation, medical incapacity management, occupational therapy

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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