Research Article  |   September 2014
Occupational Therapy Use by Older Adults With Cancer
Author Affiliations
  • Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD, OTR/L, is Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Care Quality Training Program, Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, CB#7411, 1102G McGavran-Greenberg Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; pergolot@email.unc.edu
  • Malcolm P. Cutchin, PhD, is Professor and Chair, Department of Health Care Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Morris Weinberger, PhD, is Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Senior Research Career Scientist, Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Center for Health Services Research, Durham, NC
  • Anne-Marie Meyer, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Pubic Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Facility Director at the Integrated Cancer Information and Surveillance System, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Article Information
Advocacy / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   September 2014
Occupational Therapy Use by Older Adults With Cancer
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 597-607. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011791
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 597-607. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.011791
Abstract

Occupational therapy may significantly improve cancer survivors’ ability to participate in activities, thereby improving quality of life. Little is known, however, about the use of occupational therapy services by adults with cancer. The objective of this study was to understand what shapes patterns of occupational therapy use to help improve service delivery. We examined older (age >65 yr) adults diagnosed with breast, prostate, lung, or melanoma (skin) cancer between 2004 and 2007 (N = 27,131) using North Carolina Central Cancer Registry data linked to Medicare billing claims. Survivors who used occupational therapy within 1 yr before their cancer diagnosis were more likely to use occupational therapy after diagnosis but also experienced the highest levels of comorbidities. Survivors with Stage 4 cancers or lung cancer were less likely to use occupational therapy. These findings suggest possible disparities in utilization of occupational therapy by older adults with cancer.