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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-9

Culturally competent occupational therapy practice for south asians in the United States of America: A narrative review

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Utah, USA

Correspondence Address:
Shivani Bharti Vij
42291 Ashmead Terr, Brambleton, VA 20148
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_59_21

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Background: The concept of cultural competence in health care has gained significant attention in the past few decades due to increased diversity in the United States (US) population. However, studies suggested that occupational therapists in the US are not prepared for this cultural shift. Several research articles indicated that practicing clinicians are either not aware of the need for culturally competent practices or need the training to enhance knowledge on cultural competence to cater to people from South Asian backgrounds. Objectives: This study aims to understand cultural beliefs, the perception of health and illness, the meaning of occupations from the viewpoint of the South Asian clients to help explore culturally competent strategies for occupational therapy (OT) professionals in the US to ensure they provide applicable and culturally appropriate services to South Asian clients. Study Design: A narrative review. Methods: Keyword searches of databases such as PubMed and EBSCO, and the American Journal of OT were performed. The literature search identified and reviewed qualitative/quantitative studies (n = 13) and other articles/resources (n = 9) on cultural competency for South Asians in the United States of America from 2009 to 2021 in English language literature. Manual searches of other relevant journals and reference lists of primary articles were also done. Results: Analysis of the results of studies reviewed revealed three main themes, (1) role of critical thinking and self-awareness that promote or inhibit the use of culturally competent interventions, (2) prior experiences of OT practitioners with ethnically diverse communities, (3) cultural considerations such as common belief, family hierarchy, traditional medicines, and the use of educational material or therapy resources in the native language that may improve therapy outcomes for South Asian clients. Conclusion: Empowering cultural competency requires complex skills such as critical thinking, self-awareness, problem-solving, understanding the dynamics of discrimination, and understanding the service delivery systems. The background information on common behaviors, beliefs, and cultural considerations of South Asians will help devise meaningful client-centered interventions that match the social and cultural norms of South Asian clients, which can improve OT practice for this clientele in the US.

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