Promoting agency among people with severe psychiatric disability occupation-oriented interventions in home and community settings

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå university

Abstract: In general, people with severe psychiatric disability living in sheltered or supported housing lead passive, solitary lives. Current rehabilitative approaches often neglect considering an agentic perspective of the residents in sheltered or supported housing. Furthermore, the outreach and societal contexts are often not considered. Thus, practitioners tend to overlook the potential in providing support and rehabilitation that is adapted to their individual, collective and changing needs.My approach was to develop a model for Everyday Life Rehabilitation (ELR), which has a potential to promote agency while targeting recovery, meaningful daily occupations, social participation, and person-driven goals. We employed two occupational therapists (OT) and offered an intervention with ELR in a medium-sized municipality in northernSwedenand evaluated this intervention from the perspectives of residents and community care workers (CCW), using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.This thesis comprises four studies that focus on a home and community context, late rehabilitation efforts, daily occupations, and client-centredness. The overall aim is to understand and evaluate the impact of recovery- and occupation-oriented interventions in a home context for people with severe psychiatric disability. The study settings are sheltered and supported housing facilities.The first study (n=6) explores the significance of home for occupational transformations. The analysis reveals how residential conditions facilitate rehabilitative interactions, generating occupational transformations such as increasing social competence and taking charge of daily occupations. The second study evaluates occupation- and health-related outcomes of the ELR-intervention for residents (n=17). Pre-, post-, and follow-up differences in tests scores on goal attainment, occupation, and health-related factors indicate that important progress is made. The third study explores residents’ (n=16) narratives about occupational transformations in the context of everyday life and life history. Narrative analysis discloses stories of ‘rediscovering agency’, referring to occupational and identity transformations. The fourth study illuminates community care workers’ (n=21) experiences of collaborating with residents and OTs, using ELR. The CCW’ view on residents, rehabilitation, and the own role, along with organisational conditions in the housing facility, seem to characterise different outlooks influencing the CCWs responsiveness or resistance to the intervention.In conclusion, rehabilitation in a supported housing context appears paradoxical due to tensions between opposing values such as authentic versus artificial, and independence versus dependence. However, if residents are engaged in challenging these tensions, they can function as ‘progressive tensions’ generating change. Considering the personal and social meaning of home also appears to be valuable. The intervention studies on ELR, demonstrate its value for participants and indicates that a recovery approach applying ELR would promote shared perspectives among residents, CCWs, and OTs, while facilitating ‘agent-supported rehabilitation’ and ‘out-of-housing strategies’. The thesis provides initial support for the use of ELR-interventions and proposes continued research.