Credentials Display

Wesam B. Darawsheh, PhD(OT), MScOT, BScOT; Gill Chard, PhD, BSc, DipCOT; Mona Eklund, PhD (Psychology), MScOT, BSc (Psychology)


Background: Occupational therapists increasingly encounter clients from diverse cultural backgrounds and need to meet their professional obligation of delivering culturally competent practice. Yet the process of cultural competency is poorly understood in occupational therapy practice. There is a need for a clear understanding of the meaning and process of cultural competency as it is enacted in practice with a wide range of individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Aim: To investigate the process, stages, characteristics, and requirements of cultural competency as practiced by experienced occupational therapists.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 13 community occupational therapists experienced in delivering occupational therapy services in clients’ homes in a culturally diverse area in London, England.

Findings: Interview data were analyzed and ordered into the format of a conceptual process model where cultural competency formed the core concept. The model of cultural competency that emerged from this study comprised six stages: cultural awareness, cultural preparedness, a cultural picture of the person, cultural responsiveness, cultural readiness, and cultural competence.

Conclusion: Cultural competency is a complex process that needs to be based on underpinning occupational theory and actualized at the level of practice. Further research is needed to test out the model and illuminate the process of cultural competency in different areas of occupational therapy practice.