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Research Article  |   September 2000
Role Perceptions of Occupational Therapists Providing Support and Education for Caregivers of Persons With Dementia
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Toth-Cohen, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University, Department of Occupational Therapy, 130 South 9th Street, Suite 822, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; Susan.Toth-Cohen@mail.tju.edu
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Neurologic Conditions / Aging
Research Article   |   September 2000
Role Perceptions of Occupational Therapists Providing Support and Education for Caregivers of Persons With Dementia
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2000, Vol. 54, 509-515. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.5.509
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2000, Vol. 54, 509-515. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.5.509
Abstract

Objective. This pilot study explored occupational therapists’ perceptions of their roles as interventionists providing education and support for caregivers of persons with dementia. The intervention was provided in caregivers’ homes as part of a larger funded study.

Method. Interviews were conducted with four occupational therapists to elicit their reflections on practice and their views on occupational therapy services on the basis of their experiences providing support and education for caregivers in the funded study.

Results. Key themes consisted of the contrasts between the therapists’ roles in the study and their customary practices and the professional and personal impact of their role in the study. Their recommendations for occupational therapy services emphasized the need to (a) collaborate with patients, families, and other health care staff members to solve problems; (b) acknowledge others as experts; (c) include family perspectives; and (d) fully address the needs of patients and families in their home environments.

Conclusion. Providing support and education for caregivers in the community can be a major transition for therapists accustomed to practicing in more traditional settings. Additional research is needed to explore the ways in which specific practice contexts influence delivery of occupational therapy services.