Working with Different Generations as an Occupational Therapy Assistant

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At Concorde, we offer programs to help you become an occupational therapy assistant. After obtaining your health care degree, you’ll have the chance to support improved quality of life for patients that deal with physical challenges due to various health conditions.

One of the exciting opportunities you’ll enjoy when working as an occupational therapy assistant is the chance to work with different generations. However, this is also a challenge and requires you to have a great deal of generational competency.

WHAT IS GENERATIONAL COMPETENCY?

Today our world includes four very distinct generations, and generational competency involves adapting care to the unique needs of each of these unique generations.

This means that you need to understand how individuals of each generation differ, how they make their decisions, and how to best interact with them. Treating all your patients in the same manner will not provide you with the results you want.

It’s important to take the time to learn about each generation and what makes them unique, which will help you improve the way you interact with patients.

WHY IS GENERATIONAL COMPETENCY IMPORTANT IN CARE?

Generational competency is essential to quality medical care because every generation expects different things from health care professionals.

Patients from different generations also make their health care decisions in different ways, so it’s important for occupational therapy assistants to give consideration to the demographics of your patients.

Understanding the influences or context which patients of specific generations have grown up with makes it easier to learn how to best teach and work with individuals from that generation. Using generational competency improves your ability to provide patients with the best possible care.

HOW DIFFERENT GENERATIONS TEND TO MAKE MEDICAL DECISIONS

Now that you understand the importance of developing generational competency as an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll want to learn more about the different generations and their differences.

Here’s a look at the four generations and how they make medical decisions.

  • The Greatest Generation – This generation includes individuals over the age of 65, and while this generation only makes up 12 percent of today’s population, it accounts for a large percentage of hospital stays.Patients from this generation expect a high level of service from medical professionals, and they will heavily lean upon you for their health information.
  • The Baby Boomers – The Baby Boomer generation includes individuals who were born between 1946 and 1964, and this large generation continues to change health care industry expectations.Boomers embrace technology and try to connect with medical professionals in tech-savvy ways. Patients from the Boomer generation value quality of care and spend time doing their own health research online.
  • Generation X – This group born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s are often considered the first generation of health care consumers. Patients in this group shop and compare health care, and they seek information online.
    Gen-X patients place a lot of value in a health care professional’s experience and reputation and are likely to change providers based upon their recent experiences.
  • The Millennials – The generation of Millennials, often referred to as Generation Y, were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. This is the largest adult generation, and patients in this age group are healthy and young.\Patients from this generation value personal relationships with their medical professionals. They value reputation, and they are likely choose another health care professional if they have a bad experience.

Of course, this is just a brief overview of each generation and the way each makes medical decisions. To succeed in the occupational therapy profession, it’s essential to learn more about each generation, improving generational competency to ensure you can provide patients from all generations the best possible care.

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