Ethical Tensions Related to Systemic Constraints
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Ethical tensions arise daily in health care practice and are frequently related to health care system structures or policies. Collective case study methodology was adopted to examine ethical tensions reported by occupational therapists practicing in different settings in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Inductive analysis involving multiple layers of coding was conducted. This article focuses on tensions related to systemic constraints. Participants reported ethical tensions related to balancing client priorities with those of health care services. Four themes related to systemic constraints were identified including imposed practices, ineffective processes, resource limitations, and lack of services. Therapists' aims could be seen to align with an "ethic of care" and were seen to be in tension in light of systemic constraints. The findings raise issues related to occupational justice, particularly related to occupational alienation in occupational therapy practice, and open conversations related to neoliberalist health care agendas.
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