Occupational therapy services are an integral part of palliative care.
People and families living with a life-limiting illness require access to occupational therapy in order to access ongoing assessment and intervention to address constantly changing needs across the disease trajectory.
Occupational therapists (OT) work with people with life limiting illnesses in a wide variety of settings, including; community health, aged care, community rehabilitation, outpatient clinics, acute care, tertiary rehabilitation centres, day hospice, hospice and inpatient palliative care units.
Occupational Therapists take a person-centred approach to all areas of practice, and palliative care is no exception. An individual’s desire to participate in valued and essential occupations does not diminish at the end-of-life; in fact, it is intensified. Occupational therapists play an integral role in enabling ongoing participation by optimising function and management of symptoms.
Useful Information and Resources
Occupational therapists working and researching in palliative care support living in the face of dying. They acknowledge the inevitability of death, the loss of function and the ongoing drive to be as active as possible for as long as possible. Occupational therapists should be an integral part of palliative care teams and service provision.
Palliative Care Australia represents all those who work towards high quality palliative care for all Australians who need it. Working closely with consumers, our Member Organisations and the palliative care workforce, we aim to improve access to, and promote the need for, palliative care.
Learning & Development
OTA have developed a high quality evidenced-based 3-part learning resource for occupational therapists. The primary aim of the online learning and development resource is to increase knowledge, skills, and capabilities of OTs working as primary healthcare practitioners in palliative care.
Provide professional development and skill building opportunities for primary healthcare practitioners in palliative care to increase capacity and confidence and ultimately improves recruitment and retention outcomes for OTs in palliative care.
Build a sustainable 3-part webinar series / learning resource that will continue to be accessible and available to OTs once developed (i.e. it's not just a once off training).
Dr Deidre Morgan
Senior OT, inpatient palliative care OT (13 years)
Researcher: palliative care & OT
Senior OT, community palliative care
15+ years in palliative care
Proposed learning objectives will focus on building capabilities for occupational therapists through:
Skills in optimising quality of life and promoting occupational performance over the course of disease progression
Symptoms management such as fatigue, breathlessness and pain through assessment, energy conservation techniques, education, counselling, task redesign and equipment prescription
Enabling individuals to remain in/return to the place of care of their choice
Adaptation and coping skills with the challenges associated with life limiting illness
Specialised assessments with targeted interventions, such as education and environmental modifications, to support an individual’s ability to manage safely within their own home.
Supporting capacity to attend to affairs and the development of legacy
Caregiver’s support, education, and training to reduce risk of injury, negative experiences, and complex bereavement, including grief and bereavement support.
Support smooth transition and continuity of care across community and acute services
Oncology & Palliative Care Special Interest Groups
To connect OTs who are interested in oncology and palliative care. This group has an interest in research, contribution to policy development and evidence based practice. Meetings are usually held 4- 5 times each year.