Mariana D’Amico; Update on Productive Aging Research in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2012. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(4):e77-e91. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.008219.
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This article describes a review of articles on productive aging published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) during 2012 in light of the Centennial Vision charge of supporting practice through evidence. Seventeen AJOT articles published in 2012 specifically addressed productive aging. Of 6 Level I studies, 4 were systematic reviews that identified effective occupational therapy interventions for community-dwelling older adults; 1 randomized controlled trial examined the effectiveness of writing life reviews for residents of senior residences, and 1 meta-analysis investigated the effectiveness of fall-related efficacy and engagement in activity or occupation. Two Level II studies and 2 Level III studies produced support for the effectiveness of individual and group-based occupational therapy interventions. Of 7 descriptive studies addressing a variety of areas, 4 addressed the reliability and validity of assessments. In 2012, AJOT published more and higher quality studies addressing a variety of issues related to productive aging.
Effectiveness studies supporting practice,
Instrument testing to establish reliability and validity for occupational therapy assessments,
Correlational and descriptive studies that demonstrate links between occupational engagement and health,
Studies that answer important questions about topics related to the direction of the profession’s growth, and
Basic research studies that provide information about disabilities and their impact on functional participation (Gutman, 2008).
Level I: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
Level II: Two groups, nonrandomized studies (e.g., cohort, case control)
Level III: One group, nonrandomized (e.g., before and after, pretest and posttest)
Level IV: Descriptive studies that include analysis of outcomes (e.g., single-subject design, case series)
Level V: Case reports and expert opinion that include narrative literature reviews and consensus statements.
Models demonstrating the importance and value of occupational therapy in promoting desirable patient and hospital outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of occupational therapy in improving health care outcomes (O’Brien et al., 2012).
Cultural relevance has been a cornerstone of occupational therapy since its inception, and studies supporting this aspect of occupational therapy remain important within the broader framework of health care (Haltiwanger, 2012; Hersch et al., 2012).
Community events such as health fairs provide a means to improve safety and health and assess potential changes that may result from community-based education (Painter et al., 2012).
The profession may need to consider standards related to curricula content about low vision rehabilitation (Deacy et al., 2012).
Falls prevention is a major area related to occupational performance that requires more attention within the context of practice and research (Chase et al., 2012; Elliott et al., 2012; Leland et al., 2012; Painter et al., 2012; Schepens et al., 2012). Existing research has predominantly been produced by occupational therapists in Australia and other parts of the world.
Although the areas of driving rehabilitation and assessment, falls prevention, and low vision rehabilitation have been around for many years, these topics have a continued and needed presence as the U.S. population ages and life expectancy around the world increases (Classen et al., 2012a, 2012b).
Further evidence is available of the power of occupation-based and activity-based interventions in improving occupational performance.
Prevention services and programs provided in the community can improve health, well-being, and continued occupational performance and participation for older adults.
Community health fairs provide opportunities for practitioners, educators, and students to provide services and collect data.
Cultural relevance is an important element of client-centered interventions with older clients.
Fall prevention interventions should address exercise, home modifications, foot care and footwear, medication management, postural hypotension, and fear of falling.
Occupational therapy practitioners are encouraged to develop or identify programs and interventions that improve client performance and outcomes.
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