Opinions of Occupational Therapists on the Positioning of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Gauteng Public Healthcare

Hester M van Biljon, Daleen Casteleijn, Sanetta H.J. du Toit, Lynn Soulsby


Introduction: A collaborative effort to transform occupational therapies vocational rehabilitation services in Gauteng’s public healthcare was hampered by the fact that role players were unclear as to what the scope of the service should be within the various sectors and staffing levels of public healthcare. This article reports on the opinions of occupational therapists on the positioning of vocational rehabilitation services in the Gauteng Province.

Method: A collaborative action research team launched a non-experimental descriptive inquiry within the planning phase of a larger transformative project. Data were generated through an opinion survey to capture the perspectives of occupational therapists on the potential positioning of vocational rehabilitation services in the province. The opinions of three groups of occupational therapists were collected, i.e. clinicians working in Gauteng public healthcare, experienced vocational rehabilitation practitioners from all fields of service delivery who acted as critical friends and occupational therapy academia.

Results: The purposive sample was composed of  307 potential respondents. A low response rate of 31% was achieved. There was a lack of consensus as to which vocational rehabilitation services occupational therapists should render in public health care. The results reflected the need to address the scope and position of vocational rehabilitation services in public health care.

Conclusion: Positioning of vocational rehabilitation services in public health care remains a point of contention. However, the process of asking occupational therapists their opinion created awareness and directed continuous efforts to address the issues within the field of practice.

Keywords: occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation services, public healthcare action research, opinion survey.


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

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