Community outcomes of occupational therapy service learning engagements: perceptions of community representatives

Elize Janse van Rensburg, Tania Rauch van der Merwe, Mabel A Erasmus
2019 South African Journal of Occupational Therapy  
Key words: Service learning; occupational enablement; community engagement; community-based practice; community-based education Background: Service learning is used as an educational approach in many undergraduate occupational therapy programmes in South Africa and the rest of the world. Evidence for the impact of occupational therapy service learning engagements in communities, from the perspectives of community partners, is limited. Aim: The purpose of this study was to describe the
more » ... cribe the perceptions of community representatives regarding the outcomes of occupational therapy service learning engagements. Methods: A descriptive qualitative enquiry design was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight purposively sampled community representatives and analysed using inductive qualitative content analysis. Results: This paper reports on the theme related to community outcomes of occupational therapy that emerged from the data, consisting of seven categories, namely: (1) increased knowledge and skills, (2) attitudinal change leading to practice reform, increased access to resources and infrastructure, (4) enhanced community connections, (5) enhanced confidence and dignity, (6) enhanced occupational participation, and (7) non-realisation of partnership goals. Conclusion: The findings of the study demonstrated that although there were some instances in which partnership goals were not realised, occupational therapy service learning engagements contributed to occupational enablement, occupational justice, health and well-being for community members. LITERATURE REVIEW Bringle and Steinberg 14 point out that studies conducted on the community outcomes of service learning tend to focus on contribution to quality of life in communities, or on relationships between the community and other stakeholders. Others 9 critique that research in service learning tends to conflate community outcomes with Community outcomes of occupational therapy service learning engagements: perceptions of community representatives Elize Janse van Rensburg, B Occ Ther (UFS), M Occ Ther (UFS) https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7232-0690
doi:10.17159/2310-3833/2019/vol49n1a3 fatcat:rhhz4v4jgvesjp6g6ppywsdgja