A retrospective study of the role of an occupational therapist in the cancer nutrition rehabilitation program
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PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to determine how frequently each domain of activity was addressed and how frequently specific interventions were used by an occupational therapist (OT) with cancer patients who attended an 8-week Cancer Nutrition and Rehabilitation (CNR) program. METHODS: Sixty-two patients with cancer were assessed. All received interventions by the OT within the CNR program. The following activity domains: (1) self-care, (2) productivity, and (3) leisure that were addressed during appointments with the OT were recorded following each visit. Seven categories of interventions were predetermined and their use was recorded using a checklist. RESULTS: Descriptive statistics were conducted and revealed that 36% of the therapist's time was spent assessing patients' functional capacity while 64% was spent providing interventions. The OT's interventions addressed leisure and exercise (54%), productive activities such as housework and paid employment (32%), and basic activities of daily living (14%). The frequency of specific interventions provided were as follows: 40% in teaching of energy conservation and activity management techniques, 33% in goal setting/support and counseling, 9% in cognitive retraining/stimulation, 6% in communication with community agencies, and 4% in teaching of joint and bone protection techniques, help with management of neuropathies, and education on scar management respectively. CONCLUSION: It is suggested that OTs practicing in oncology use a variety of interventions to better address productive and leisure activities. The data suggests that limitations in these areas were more prevalent than in self-care activities. Further study is needed to examine OT interventions in oncology.
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