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Occupational therapy targeting physical environmental barriers in buildings with public facilities.

The British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Author: Iwarsson, S., Fänge, A., Hovbrandt, P., Carlsson, G., Jarbe, I., Wijk , U.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 2004


The main aim of this study was to evaluate an occupational therapy based intervention aimed at increasing the accessibility to buildings with public facilities in a Swedish town centre, which targeted physical environmental barriers. The intervention was occupational therapy advice based on the environmental assessments of each facility, given to the facility owners in order to ease the removal of environmental barriers. Another aim was to elucidate the attitudes towards and the practical obstacles to the implementation of accessibility measures among public facility owners. Systematic on-site observations of environmental barriers were administered in five buildings with different facilities, at baseline and at follow-up 18 months later, and were complemented by semi-structured interviews with the facility owners at follow-up. At baseline, environmental barriers were found in all five facilities, such as at entrances, and at follow-up only minor improvements were identified. Two of the facility owners had made use of the occupational therapy advice, but the results also revealed scarce knowledge of or negative attitudes towards accessibility measures. Much remains to be done when it comes to attitudes towards the inclusion of people with disabilities. Active occupational therapy, as described in this study, can influence the situation only to a limited extent. Nevertheless, the results demonstrate that there is knowledge to be gained through this kind of approach.

Further Details

Pages: 29-38
Volume: 67
Issue: 1
Accession Number: 4.3.04
Keywords: mobility, design
Reads: 199