Re-imagining occupational therapy clients as communities: Presenting the community-centred practice framework Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Occupational therapists' are increasingly working with communities and providing services at the community level. There is, however, a lack of conceptual frameworks to guide this work. AIM:The aim of this article is to present a new conceptual framework for community-centered practice in occupational therapy. MATERIAL AND METHOD:The conceptual framework was developed from qualitative multi-case research on exemplars of community participation. The first was, a network of Canadian food security programs, and the second, a rural Australian community banking initiative. Key themes were identified from across the case studies, and cross-case findings interpreted using occupational therapy and occupational science knowledge, and relevant social theory. The outcome is a four-stage, occupation-focused, community-centered practice framework. FINDINGS:The Community-Centred Practice Framework can be used by occupational therapists to understand and apply a community-centered practice approach. The four stages are: (1) Community Identity, (2) Community Occupations, (3) Community Resources and Barriers, and (4) Participation Enablement. CONCLUSIONS:Further research is needed to trial and critically evaluate the framework, to assess its usefulness as a robust, occupation-focused, frame of reference to guide community-centered practice in occupational therapy. SIGNIFICANCE:The proposed framework should assist occupational therapists to conceptualize community-centered practice, and to utilize and apply theory.

publication date

  • 2018