Use of the KAWA Model for Teambuilding with Rehabilitative Professionals: An Exploratory Study
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.
Brian D. Scaife, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. He is a licensed occupational therapist in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Purpose: The KAWA model, a culturally-sensitive model of occupational therapy practice, can enhance patient-provider collaboration, but its use as a tool for team building and collaboration among an interprofessional group has not been studied. Teambuilding has been positively correlated with job satisfaction and quality of client care. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to identify potential uses of the KAWA model and areas for future research related to teambuilding. Method: Trainings on the model, including a review of model components, its potential utility with clients, and an interactive activity, were provided to two rehabilitative teams (N=26) within two skilled nursing facilities. Results: Focus groups were conducted and analysis of the discussions revealed 4 potential applications of the model: (1) as a teambuilding tool to build team cohesiveness/morale; (2) as a tool to address performance issues with individual team members; (3) as a tool for conflict resolution among multiple team members; and (4) as a means to address workplace challenges external to the team itself. Conclusions & Recommendations: Teambuilding in healthcare settings can benefit both clients and rehab professionals, and the KAWA model may be an effective tool for this purpose. Limitations include a modest sample and interpreter bias; however, this study provides a foundation for future research on the KAWA model related to teambuilding and interprofessional collaboration.