Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Capstone (Entry-Level OTD)

Degree Name

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this capstone paper is to gain a broader understanding of the current needs surrounding women’s health and to explore if there is a stronger role for occupational therapy in women’s healthcare delivery. Method: For this needs assessment, clinical observations of women’s healthcare services, particularly those pertaining to pelvic health, were conducted using a detailed observation checklist. In-depth interviews were also conducted with eleven women’s health service providers – eight physical therapists and three occupational therapists – in order to gain insight into their opinions and experiences regarding women’s health services. Information gathered was analyzed for themes and key points to assist with promoting future research in this realm of healthcare. Results: The current needs presented by women receiving women’s healthcare services are complex and varied, with trends surfacing around the topics of education on self-care, access to services, and the need for improved physical and emotional support. Services provider interviews revealed themes associated with current needs of female clients in the areas of physical, mental and emotional support barriers to services such as insurance coverage, lack of patient education and lack of community awareness as well as ideas to expand healthcare services, to meet the needs of women. Conclusions: The findings suggest further research, innovations and expanded services are appropriate responses to improve women’s healthcare services. This assessment provides preliminary information suggesting occupational therapy is well-suited to meet many needs within women’s healthcare and that its potential roles should be further researched.

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