Mark E. Hardison, Shawn C. Roll; Mindfulness Interventions in Physical Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(3):7003290030. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.018069
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
A scoping review was conducted to describe how mindfulness is used in physical rehabilitation, identify implications for occupational therapy practice, and guide future research on clinical mindfulness interventions. A systematic search of four literature databases produced 1,524 original abstracts, of which 16 articles were included. Although only 3 Level I or II studies were identified, the literature included suggests that mindfulness interventions are helpful for patients with musculoskeletal and chronic pain disorders and demonstrate trends toward outcome improvements for patients with neurocognitive and neuromotor disorders. Only 2 studies included an occupational therapist as the primary mindfulness provider, but all mindfulness interventions in the selected studies fit within the occupational therapy scope of practice according to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process. Higher-level research is needed to evaluate the effects of mindfulness interventions in physical rehabilitation and to determine best practices for the use of mindfulness by occupational therapy practitioners.
Establish the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions in various settings and patient populations with physical diagnoses in high-level, randomized trials;
Examine the utility of training methods for occupational therapy practitioners in the delivery of mindfulness interventions for physical disorders as part of professional curricula, through continuing education programs or other postprofessional training;
Describe best practices for clinical integration of mindfulness into occupational therapy practice; and
Explore the implications related to reimbursement for and cost-effectiveness of the delivery of mindfulness interventions in occupational therapy practice.
Mindfulness in physical rehabilitation is primarily used to help clients with chronic pain and TBI adapt to illness and disability, which promotes functional recovery as complementary to symptom remediation.
Mindfulness for physical disorders has yet to be substantiated as an evidence-based intervention within occupational therapy; however, promising preliminary evidence exists, and current mindfulness protocols fit within the occupational therapy scope of practice as preparatory, activity, or occupation-based interventions.
Higher level research is needed to address the substantial limitations in current efficacy studies on mindfulness for physical conditions and to determine best practices for the use of mindfulness in physical rehabilitation by occupational therapy practitioners.
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