Salutogenesis and occupational therapy education – from the curriculum to a professional practice based on Antonovsky’s ideas

Moller, Matthias (2015) Salutogenesis and occupational therapy education – from the curriculum to a professional practice based on Antonovsky’s ideas. In: Asian-Pacific Occupational Therapy Conference, 14.09.2015-17.09.2015, Rotorua, New Zeland. (Unpublished)

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Today’s healthcare needs are different from those of recent times, and are subject to fast-paced changes. Both globalization and unfailing information possibilities concerning health, disease, lifestyle, quality of life and its relevant techniques, methods, and technologies, require new roles and competencies for all agents of the healthcare arena. Salutogenesis as term was introduced in 1979 by Antonovsky, an Israeli-American sociologist who interpreted health as flexible, subjective states of being within a permanent personal polarity of health and disease that can change over a lifetime. By describing a health care approach focusing on how to support health and well-being, he rejects the traditional medical model dichotomy which rather concentrates on factors that cause disease, conceptually separating health and illness. The University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland picked up Antonovsky’s ideas by integrating them at central points of its nursing, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy curricula. This presentation wants to explain why, where and how Salutogenesis is integrated within the occupational therapy programme, and how it is linked with interdisciplinary view. Two perspectives will be presented: The first describes the process of integrating salutogenic ideas into both the interdisciplinary and specific programme and how this fits into the epistemological choices of the college. The second details the module ‘Occupational Therapy and Salutogenesis’ by considering its central themes and contents, including the didactical transcription, for example, in terms of typology of lectures and the examination of the module. Since the module has been running twice (during spring 2014 and 2015), the presentation will shortly refer to the critical evaluations, experiences and feedbacks of involved teachers and students. In doing so, the presentation wants to emphasise the potential of salutogenic ideas for the occupational therapy profession, if and how they fit to the actual professional paradigm, and what this means for the professional practice.

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