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Occupational Therapy and the Self-Care Needs of Hindu Elders

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A study was carried out to identify the self-care needs of 19 Hindu elders. With the rising number of people in this group, the occupational therapist has a responsibility to be aware of the cultural and religious practices associated with self-care for them. There is an expectation that occupational therapists will practise in a culturally sensitive way and this is stated clearly in the professional code of ethics (College of Occupational Therapists 1995). However, occupational therapists can only practise in a culturally sensitive way if they have an understanding of the culture of the client and his or her family and social group. There is, to date, little information for occupational therapists about the cultural and religious needs of Hindu elders, one of the groups they may meet during their professional practice. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the needs of elderly Hindus with regard to four aspects of self-care: dress, diet, bathing and toileting.

The method used for the study was the snowball technique, with an access sample comprising four Hindu university students and the main sample comprising 19 of the students' elderly relatives. Interviews were carried out with the student sample and questionnaires were sent to the elderly relatives with regard to preferences in dressing, diet, bathing and toileting. The results showed that there were common issues related to religion and culture for many of the sample but that, additionally, there were unique issues related to personal circumstances with wide variation in family structures. By asking potential clients with particular cultural or religious beliefs about their needs, occupational therapists can provide a tailored service and gain an understanding of the significance of activities of daily living to Hindu elders.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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