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Abstract

Purpose: Effective healthcare team collaboration is imperative for quality client-centered care, job satisfaction, and overall morale. Rehabilitation team collaboration can be impacted by high productivity demands, differing backgrounds of individual team members, and the unpredictable healthcare environment. The Kawa (river) model, a culturally-neutral model of occupational therapy practice, has been shown to improve communication and collaboration with its use of metaphors, but its utility in various contexts to enhance collaborative practice is still being explored. The purpose of this study was to implement an evidence-based teambuilding intervention with use of the Kawa model to investigate the impact on acute care rehabilitation team collaboration. Method: A 5-week pretest-posttest study was completed with a group of eight rehabilitation team members, consisting of occupational therapists, physical therapists, and a speech language pathologist, in an acute care setting. Pre and post-surveys were utilized to gather quantitative and qualitative data on perceptions of team collaboration, knowledge of the Kawa model, and the model’s utility for collaboration. Results: Outcomes showed overall mean improvements in agreement that the Kawa model provides a common method of communication, and 100% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that use of the Kawa model can improve acute care rehabilitation team collaboration. Qualitative post-survey responses indicated an enhanced understanding of the components of effective team collaboration. Conclusions & Recommendations: Team collaboration was cultivated with use of the Kawa model. The model provided a successful method for the acute care team to openly discuss and collaboratively problem-solve how to maximize their team flow. Further study of the Kawa model’s utility to improve collaboration in various contexts with broader participant groups is recommended, as well as study of longitudinal effects of a teambuilding intervention with use of the Kawa model.

Author Bio(s)

Jayme L. Ober, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is a licensed occupational therapist in the state of Pennsylvania.

Jennifer E. Lape, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a licensed occupational therapist in the state of Pennsylvania.

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