The Accountability-Well-Being-Ethics framework: A new philosophical foundation for occupational therapy

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Background. The context that supported occupational therapy's inception has been replaced with new challenges brought on by globalization and dramatic changes in health care. Thus, the profession's philosophical grounding needs to be reframed to (a) achieve balance between science-driven and holistic elements, (b) operate within larger contexts on problems brought on by sociopolitical and natural determinants of health, and (c) maintain an ethical identity across all arenas of practice. Purpose. This paper presents a brief discussion of the philosophical underpinnings in occupational therapy's history, outlines new global challenges for the profession, and proposes a new framework to address these challenges through education, practice, and research. Key Issues. Occupational therapy finds itself practising in a growing number of middle- and low-income countries where its roles and values need to be context and culture specific. Implications. The Accountability-Well-Being-Ethics framework guides the three domains of education, research, and practice to be relevant in an increasingly complex world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-329
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 23 2014


  • Education
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Scope of practice


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