The focus of this Innovative Practice Project (IPP) was to establish the beginnings of a conceptual practice model for AntFarm. As already identified AntFarm enacts practice through existing programs under established theories; however, the relationship between theory, research, practice resources and use in practice is unclear. According to Gary Kielhofner, a leading occupational therapy theorist in program and model development, four components are identified (theory, research, practice resources, and use of practice) as key elements in developing a conceptual practice model. Kielhofner proposes this is necessary for effective and efficient program development. Creating an association between these components provides a way to explain something of practical concern while also proving rationale and practice resources (Kielhofner, 2009). A conceptual practice model is necessary for the integration of a model of practice that blends with the existing programs and assists in guiding future program development and organizational structure. A model will also assist in comprehension of the complex nature of the AntFarm process to staff, volunteers, interns, youth, and external stakeholders. Additionally, models provide a standard verbiage to facilitate creation of concrete organizational goals. This verbiage also proves helpful when applying for grant funding.
Occupational therapy students began the model development process by collecting current research and relevant literature. This was necessary to understand Sandy community demographics and promote optimal utilization of the AntFarm community through this process. The students then designed and implemented a research design to collect qualitative data to facilitate an evidence-based foundation for the conceptual practice model of AntFarm. A graphical representation was explored in order to transform core concepts of the model into a visual that can be used for future teachings. Results of the research and conclusion of the project will be further discussed.
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