Health and Participation of People With Long Term Disabilities and Chronic Conditions
The Health and Participation group at the 2012 Occupational Science Summit in St. Louis featured 12 presentations and 5 poster sessions on a variety of topics, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, falls prevention, and breast cancer.
The research in the group focused on self-management and how occupational therapy can help people with a variety of conditions participate in their desired occupations and in their communities.
A study presented by Kathleen Lyons, ScD, OTR, examined the effectiveness of providing a problem-solving treatment (as part of an occupational therapy intervention) to women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue and nausea and can make it difficult for individuals to perform their daily activities and adhere to the rigorous exercise and nutritional guidelines that can minimize cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
Women in the study who received the occupational therapy intervention demonstrated a better quality of life and less anxiety than the women who had usual care. Lyons points out that the intervention is feasible and easy to implement, and that the participants found it helpful in increasing their participation in daily activities.
Self-management of chronic diseases is a topic that is becoming more popular and important in rehabilitation and also on a societal level, according to Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA.
“I’ve been an OT for the last 35 years, and for at least the last 30 years I’ve been interacting as an OT educator, so I know that we have always needed more capacity building,” says AOTA Vice President Virginia Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA. “This summit was a recognition that we’ve matured as a profession and are science based. It was very exciting.”
Read more about the Occupational Science Summit and find summaries of the research presented in other groups here