rehabilitation; primary health care; occupational health; mental health; child development; occupational therapy; education; vocational rehabilitation; community-based therapy
Integrated knowledge-translation in OTs working with high-risk infants in South Africa: An Explorative Qualitative Inquiry

Supplementary Files



Background: This qualitative study explored the knowledge to practice gaps of

occupational therapists who have a vital role in neurodevelopmental supportive

care for high-risk infants.

Methods: Via purposive sampling, 17 therapists working in public health in

South Africa were recruited to participate in virtual focus groups. Data were

thematically analysed using a hybrid approach.

Findings: Five themes emerged, which included (i) occupational therapy

and neonatal care in the public health sector, (ii) knowledge acquisition and

knowledge synthesis, (iii) knowledge translation and utilisation, (iv) contextual

barriers and adaptation and (v) the ideal occupational therapist in the ideal

neonatal setting. Facilitators, inhibitors, referrals, and interest in occupational

therapy neonatal care were also highlighted.

Conclusions: Knowledge to practice gaps in occupational therapy include

insufficient training, a decreased interest in neonatal care, staff shortages, multidisciplinary

team rotations and a reduced understanding of the professional

role and scope of occupational therapy. Resources, training, and policy

development appear to be necessary to inform a standard of care.


The role of the occupational therapist in supporting high risk infants is generally

limited and remains somewhat unknown in current South African contexts.

It is essential to identify knowledge-to-practice gaps for occupational

therapists supporting high-risk infants in the public health sector for successful

implementation of neurodevelopmental supportive care.

By the exploration of practitioner opinions and insight through appreciating

the role of the occupational therapist in managing high risk infants, contextually

specific and relevant knowledge translation interventions may be developed

and implemented which have implications for evidence-based practice and

more successful outcomes in the high-risk infant.

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Copyright (c) 2023 South African Journal of Occupational Therapy


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