Research Article
Issue Date: January/February 2020
Published Online: October 08, 2019
Updated: April 30, 2020
Measuring the Efficacy of Occupational Therapy in End-of-Life Care: A Scoping Review
Author Affiliations
  • Janice Kishi Chow, DOT, MA, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA, and Doctoral Candidate, School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, Dallas; jchow1@twu.edu
  • Noralyn Davel Pickens, PhD, OT, is Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, Dallas.
Article Information
Evidence-Based Practice / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 08, 2019
Measuring the Efficacy of Occupational Therapy in End-of-Life Care: A Scoping Review
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2019, Vol. 74, 7401205020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.033340
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2019, Vol. 74, 7401205020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.033340
Abstract

Importance: Underutilization of hospice occupational therapy may be attributable to a lack of evidence on efficacy.

Objective: To conduct a scoping review of occupational therapy outcome studies to ascertain how efficacy is captured in the literature.

Data Sources: PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals, Web of Science, OT Search, and Google Scholar.

Study Selection and Data Collection: Search terms: hospice, palliative care, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, outcome measure, and assessment. Inclusion criteria: research studies in English, centered on adult hospice care, published between January 1997 and September 2017, and investigated occupational therapy efficacy with an outcome measure. Exclusion criteria: systematic reviews, participants not at terminal disease end stages, or intervention program reviews lacking differentiated occupational therapy outcomes.

Findings: Seven articles met the inclusion criteria. Findings include frequent use of noncontrolled, quasi-experimental, prospective research designs; a focus on occupational performance; and no generally accepted hospice occupational therapy outcome measure.

Conclusion and Relevance: Outcome measures of participation in end-of-life occupations and environmental influences on occupational engagement are needed to effectively support occupational therapy practice and research with people who are terminally ill.

What This Article Adds: Occupational therapy in end-of-life care is growing in complexity yet remains low in utilization. This review adds insights into current practice and future research foci for the profession.