The important place of culture within occupational therapy is widely recognized, and there is increasing emphasis on addressing the diversity of clients.
This study explores how occupational therapists perform cultural brokerage when providing culturally sensitive care to immigrant families.
A descriptive qualitative methodology was used for this study. A purposive sample of 17 occupational therapists from two Canadian paediatric rehabilitation centres were interviewed.
Participants encountered several cultural and structural constraints in providing culturally sensitive care. To overcome these constraints, clinicians used four strategies: (a) translating between health systems for clients, (b) bridging different meanings of occupational therapy to make it relevant for clients, (c) establishing long-term relationships by building trust and rapport, and (d) working with clients’ relational networks to help them navigate the health system.
Occupational therapists should advocate for both the individual needs of immigrant families and for institutional level resources to better meet the needs of diverse clients.