Palliative Care and Occupational Therapy

by Cheryl Hall on July 30th, 2022

The heart of palliative care is maintaining quality of life while preparing for the occupation of death. With a holistic and patient-centered perspective, an OT can identify the occupations most important to the patient. Then, through a clinical lens, OT can provide a path to engaging in those occupations that support independence and provide meaningful engagement. OT enhances a patient’s resilience and ability to cope with the reality of palliative care.

The OT is uniquely positioned to provide meaningful interventions in a number of areas:

ADL, IADL, Leisure and Productivity

  • Focus on maintaining independence
  • Recommendations for adaptive equipment and modifications
  • Energy conservation and activity balance strategies
  • ROM exercises

Functional Mobility

  • Performance-based home assessment
  • Falls risk assessment and prevention strategies
  • Recommendations for adaptive equipment and modifications

Pain Management

  • Breathing techniques
  • Pain journal
  • Positioning devices
  • Superficial heat and cold
  • Stress management

Caregiver Resources

  • Safe transfer and positioning strategies
  • Passive ROM exercises
  • Educational resources

Want to learn more about providing care in a palliative setting? Check out these resources that I have linked on my website

Palliative Care and Hospice Resources
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
End of Life Articles
End of Life Caregiving
End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care
Managing Your Pain
Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care
Support Groups
Supporting Someone Who is Grieving
The Dying Process ~ A Guide for Family Caregivers
What is Palliative Care?
When Breath Becomes Air

  • About Me

    Cheryl Hall
    Occupational Therapist
    Maryland, United States

    Welcome to a site devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and resources to make your job of being a great therapist a lot easier.

    I have been an occupational therapist for more than 30 years. I graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in Occupational Therapy, Gerontology, and Early Child Development. My passion is working with adults and children in home health but I have also worked in rehab, sub-acute rehab, hand therapy, transitional living for TBI, and hospital-based outpatient settings.

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