Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Aged; Chronic Disease; Occupational Therapy; Primary Health Care; Professional Role
The older adult population in the United States (U.S.) is projected to increase over the next 30 years (United States Census Bureau, 2014). With that, nearly two-thirds of older adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016b). These findings highlight a need for more specialized services for this population. Primary care is one sector of healthcare service delivery operating within the U.S. healthcare system. Presently, occupational therapy services are limited in primary care settings as defined in this scholarly project. Occupational therapy services have demonstrated efficacy in providing cost-effective care that can reduce hospitalizations, enhance quality of life, delay effects of aging, and promote disease prevention (Clark et al., 2012; Jackson, Carlson, Mandel, Zemke, & Clark, 1998; Muir, 2012; Rogers, Bail, Lavin, & Anderson, 2016). Therefore, occupational therapists are well-equipped to provide interventions to older adults in order to prevent the progression of chronic disease to a point at which functional performance in valued daily occupations is limited.
A review of the literature helped to guide the development of this scholarly project and the Occupational Adaptation model assisted in organizing the product (Turpin & Iwama, 2011). The overall aim of this scholarly project is to advocate for the establishment of occupational therapy positions within primary care settings with older adults experiencing chronic conditions in order to enhance the preventive services being provided to this at-risk population, benefiting both the client and overall healthcare system. The product includes advocacy materials as well as occupational therapist and client guides to promote the inclusion of occupational therapy in primary care settings working with older adults experiencing chronic conditions. It is anticipated that the occupational therapist guide will assist practitioners in implementing interventions that target the specific needs of each client. With that, the client guide is anticipated to provide the therapist and client with materials that can be easily accessed and utilized throughout the intervention process. We anticipate that our scholarly project will facilitate the wellness trajectory within our U.S. healthcare system for the improvement of quality of life for our older adult population.
Gearman, Kate and Richards, Tessa, "The role of occupational therapy in primary care with older adults" (2016). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 353.