In Brief  |   May 2016
Toward a Broader Role for Occupational Therapy in Supportive Oncology Care
Author Affiliations
  • Alix G. Sleight, OTD, OTR/L, is PhD Student, Mrs. T. H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; sleight@usc.edu
  • Leah I. Stein Duker, PhD, OTR/L, is Research Assistant Professor, Mrs. T. H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Article Information
Advocacy / Evidence-Based Practice / Mental Health / Professional Issues / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Departments / The Issue Is …
In Brief   |   May 2016
Toward a Broader Role for Occupational Therapy in Supportive Oncology Care
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2016, Vol. 70, 7004360030p1-7004360030p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.018101
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2016, Vol. 70, 7004360030p1-7004360030p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.018101
Abstract

Supportive care in oncology helps people cope with cancer and its psychological, physical, and emotional side effects. However, cancer survivors report dissatisfaction with supportive care and a need for more psychosocial and self-management services. Occupational therapy practitioners represent an integral part of the supportive care team because their scope of practice emphasizes function. Through a focus on function, practitioners address the full spectrum of physical and psychosocial care. Currently, conceptualizations of occupational therapy for cancer survivors often focus solely on physical interventions and, therefore, do not represent the unique involvement of the profession in supportive oncology care. We advocate for a focused framework for occupational therapy practitioners in oncology as experts in function and providers of both physical and psychosocial treatments. Barriers to a focus on function are identified, and strategies are suggested for expanding involvement for the profession in supportive oncology care.