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Research Article  |   June 1997
Moral Tensions and Obligations of Occupational Therapy Practitioners Providing Home Care
Author Affiliations
  • Karin J. Opacich, MHPE, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Doctoral Candidate, University of Illinois, School of Public Health, and Assistant Professor and Education Coordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy, Rush University, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, Illinois 60612-3833
Article Information
Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Ethics / Health and Wellness / Special Issue on Home Health Care / Ben Atchison, Michael Steinhauer, Guest Editors
Research Article   |   June 1997
Moral Tensions and Obligations of Occupational Therapy Practitioners Providing Home Care
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1997, Vol. 51, 430-435. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.6.430
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1997, Vol. 51, 430-435. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.6.430
Abstract

Home care has been valued as a relevant context for the provision of occupational therapy since the inception of the field. The setting provides rich opportunities to restore meaningfulness in living for clients whose lives have been disrupted by illness or untoward events. Additionally the home care setting allows practitioners to exercise professional commitments and to meet ethical obligations congruent with the field of occupational therapy. Nevertheless, the home care arena is not exempt from the pressures that pervade the health care industry.

To thrive in the provision of home care, occupational therapy practitioners must prepare themselves to deal with the philosophic, economic, and moral challenges inherent in the setting. This article explores the moral obligations of occupational therapy practitioners who provide home care. More specifically, it addresses obligations to self to patients, to caregivers, to society, to the profession, to fellow health care providers, and to agencies and payers. Ethical principles associated with each are highlighted, and issues are raised. Home care practitioners who are attuned to the moral commitments imbedded in occupational therapy philosophy will most likely incorporate these tenets into their clinical decisions.