Rehabilitation, Disability and Participation

Resources from AOTA

Consumer Tip Sheets

  • Caring for the Caregiver - This handout discusses how occupational therapy practitioners can assist parents and caregivers of children with a disability. It provides strategies to improve the quality of life for the family as well as the child with a disability.
  • Caring for the Adult’s Caregiver - This handout discusses how occupational therapy practitioners can help caregivers of adults. It discusses strategies to help promote well-being in the caregiver, encourages recognition of the caregiver's needs, and provides information on supportive services

Articles in OT Practice

Brachtesende, A. (March 22, 2004). Helping Caregivers Cope. OT Practice.

Articles in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy

1. Hasselkus, B.R. & Murray, B.J. (2007). Everyday occupation, well-being, and identity: The experience of well-being in families with dementia.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(1), 9-20. 

The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the nature of the daily occupations of caregivers for family members with dementia as related to the caregivers' perceptions of well-being. Qualitative telephone interviews, focused on the experience of caregiving, were conducted with 33 caregiver-respondents; the data were transcribed and analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Everyday occupation emerged as a phenomenon that was central to the caregivers' ways of evaluating and monitoring well-being in the care receivers and themselves. Further, occupational engagement served to help mitigate the potential biographical disruption of the dementia caregiving experience. The implications for occupational therapy personnel are convincing: Everyday occupation holds promise for contributing to the relative well-being of both caregivers and care receivers and for facilitating continuity of relationships and identity for the caregiver.

2. Dooley, N.R. & Hinojosa, J. (2004). Improving quality of life for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers: A brief occupational therapy intervention.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58 (5), 561-569.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the extent to which adherence to occupational therapy recommendations would increase the quality of life of persons with Alzheimer's disease living in the community and decrease the burden felt by family members caring for them.

METHOD: Using a pretest-post test control group design, the Assessment of Instrumental Function (AIF) was administered to two groups of persons with Alzheimer's disease in their own homes (n = 40). Caregivers completed measures of their feelings of burden and the quality of life, including level of function of the persons with Alzheimer's disease.

RESULTS: A significant (MANCOVA) main effect was obtained for caregiver burden and 3 components of quality of life, positive affect, activity frequency and self-care status, by the treatment group, F(4, 31) = 7.34, p < .001. CONCLUSIONS: Individualized occupational therapy intervention based on the person-environment fit model appears effective for both caregivers and clients. This is especially important in light of a recent directive for more favorable reimbursement for occupational therapy services for persons with dementia.

Caregiver Assessment Tools

Family Caregiver Alliance - Feinberg, L.F. (2002) State of the Art: Caregiver Assessment in Practice Settings. Family Caregiver Alliance / National Center on Caregiving.

Reviews the Best Practice Criteria for Caregiver Assessment Tools, which should include the following Domains:

  • Caregiving Context
  • Knowledge
  • Functional Level of Care Recipient
  • Care Tasks and Skills
  • Health
  • Social Support
  • Financial & Legal Considerations of Caregiving
  • Coping Skills
  • Confidence & Competence in Caregiving Role
  • Values & Preferences
  • Positive Aspects of Caregiving
  •  Strengths

Caregiver Strain Index

Caregiver Risk Screen (available in English and French)

C.A.R.E. Tool (Caregivers Aspirations, Realities and Expectations) – available in English & French

Caregiver Self Assessment Tool in English and Spanish (American Medical Association)

Additional Resources

Corcoran, M.A. (2003) ”Practical Skills Training for Family Caregivers,” (Family Caregiver Alliance)

Multicultural Caregiver Resources

Family Caregiver Alliance - Fact sheets on over 20 caregiving topics available in Spanish and Chinese

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services - The 2006 Report to the Secretary: Rural Health and Human Services Issues (This document contains an excellent chapter on rural caregiving with recommendations.)

AARP Caregiver Resources


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