Deakin University

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Erognomic education on housework for women with upper limb repetitive strain injury (RSI): a conceptual representation of therapists' clinical reasoning

journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by T W C Cheung, L Clemson, K O' Loughlin, Russell ShuttleworthRussell Shuttleworth
BACKGROUND: Ergonomic education in housework that aims to facilitate behavior change is important for women with upper limb repetitive strain injury. Therapists usually conduct such programs based on implicit reasoning. Making this reasoning explicit is important in contributing to the profession's knowledge. AIM: To construct a conceptual representation of how occupational therapists make clinical decisions for such program. METHOD: Based on a constructivist-grounded theory methodology, data were collected through in-depth interviewing with 14 occupational therapists from a major hospital in Singapore. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data was analyzed with line by line, focused and axial coding with constant data comparison throughout data collection. RESULTS: Therapists made clinical decisions based on their perceptions of their clients' behavior change in three stages: (i) listen; (ii) try; and (iii) persevere, bearing significant similarities to the transtheoretical theory of change. The study also showed that therapists may not have considered the full range of meanings that their clients attach to housework when interacting with them, a gap that needs to be addressed. CONCLUSIONS: The present study indicates the importance of therapists' understanding of the meanings that their clients attach to housework. Further research needs to address how to achieve this in a time-pressured clinical environment. Implications for Rehabilitation This study used qualitative research to demonstrate the process of translating therapists' tacit knowledge into an explicit form. It elucidates the following major implications for practice when therapists conduct ergonomic education to facilitate behavior change in housework for female homemakers with upper limb RSI:The conceptual framework of clinical reasoning constructed from the results can be used to increase therapists' awareness of how they make clinical decisions during an intervention. This framework can also be used for training new therapists. It is important for therapists to actively listen to their clients. Active listening will enable the therapists to understand and consider the personal meanings that these women attach to housework in order to facilitate a behavior change. Client-therapist interactions to facilitate clients' willingness to change should become a major focus in such a program. Similar research should be conducted in other clinical areas to develop explicit clinical reasoning frameworks to facilitate learning of novice therapists and reflection of experienced therapists to address any gap in their clinical reasoning.



Disability and rehabilitation






3136 - 3146


Taylor & Francis


Abingdon, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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