Title

Changes in the occupational self: The occupational implications for people following concussion

Location

New River Room B

Start Time

3-10-2015 2:30 PM

End Time

3-10-2015 4:00 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

An emerging area for occupational therapists that is gaining increased public awareness is the negative effects of concussion on occupational engagement and performance. Following injury, traditional treatment approaches focus on preventing further injury, and physical and cognitive rest with the ultimate goal of returning to previous level of participation. However, there is a clear gap in practice and in the literature with regards to an approach to treatment of clients with post-concussive symptoms in supporting their return to occupations.

The duration of post-concussive symptoms can vary widely from minutes to months, and even longer in a small number of cases (Grady, et al 2012). It is this unknown period of recovery time in which individuals are at a higher risk of losing their occupational identities due to extreme changes in their habits, routines and roles. When a loss of occupation occurs, a cascade of negative events leads to further disengagement and an increased overall recovery time.

Eriksson, Tham, & Kottorp (2013), describe a phenomenon called ‘occupational gap’ and define this to mean a consequence of illness of injury where people perceive difficulties in performing some of their everyday preferred occupations (p. 152). The phenomenon of occupational gaps emanates from the concept of occupational participation defined by Kielhofner as engagement in work, play, or activities of daily living that are part of one’s socio-cultural context and that are desired and/or necessary to one’s well-being (Eriksson, Tham, & Kottorp, 2013, p. 158). Further explanation includes the gap that occurs between what an individual wants to do and what he actually does. This approach is different than the traditional deficit specific approach to intervention and it begins to get at the layer of occupation and personal meaning.

Occupational therapists are trained in activity analysis and to identify limiting patient factors or environmental barriers that prevent full participation in everyday occupations. The traditional role for occupational therapy intervention for people following concussion has focused on symptom management and environmental or activity adaptations. Specialty assessments focus on isolated client factors and include visual, perceptual and vestibular assessments. While occupational therapists are highly qualified to address these performance deficit level factors, there is an additional, less talked about role for occupational therapists. This paper attempts to bridge from traditional occupational therapy practice to looking at the occupational implications through an occupational science lens for people following concussion and their inability to access their preferred occupations.

References

Eriksson, G., Tham, K., & Kottorp, A. (2013). A cross-sectional validation of an

instrument measuring participation in everyday occupations: The Occupational Gaps Questionnaires (OGQ). Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 20, 152-160.

Finn, C. & Waskiewicz, M. (2015). The role of occupational therapy in managing post-concussion syndrome. Special Interest Section Quarterly: Physical Disabilites, 38(1), 1-3.

Klinger, L. (2005). Occupational Adaptation: Perspectives of people with traumaticbrain injury. Journal of Occupational Science, 12(1), 9-16.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Oct 3rd, 2:30 PM Oct 3rd, 4:00 PM

Changes in the occupational self: The occupational implications for people following concussion

New River Room B

An emerging area for occupational therapists that is gaining increased public awareness is the negative effects of concussion on occupational engagement and performance. Following injury, traditional treatment approaches focus on preventing further injury, and physical and cognitive rest with the ultimate goal of returning to previous level of participation. However, there is a clear gap in practice and in the literature with regards to an approach to treatment of clients with post-concussive symptoms in supporting their return to occupations.

The duration of post-concussive symptoms can vary widely from minutes to months, and even longer in a small number of cases (Grady, et al 2012). It is this unknown period of recovery time in which individuals are at a higher risk of losing their occupational identities due to extreme changes in their habits, routines and roles. When a loss of occupation occurs, a cascade of negative events leads to further disengagement and an increased overall recovery time.

Eriksson, Tham, & Kottorp (2013), describe a phenomenon called ‘occupational gap’ and define this to mean a consequence of illness of injury where people perceive difficulties in performing some of their everyday preferred occupations (p. 152). The phenomenon of occupational gaps emanates from the concept of occupational participation defined by Kielhofner as engagement in work, play, or activities of daily living that are part of one’s socio-cultural context and that are desired and/or necessary to one’s well-being (Eriksson, Tham, & Kottorp, 2013, p. 158). Further explanation includes the gap that occurs between what an individual wants to do and what he actually does. This approach is different than the traditional deficit specific approach to intervention and it begins to get at the layer of occupation and personal meaning.

Occupational therapists are trained in activity analysis and to identify limiting patient factors or environmental barriers that prevent full participation in everyday occupations. The traditional role for occupational therapy intervention for people following concussion has focused on symptom management and environmental or activity adaptations. Specialty assessments focus on isolated client factors and include visual, perceptual and vestibular assessments. While occupational therapists are highly qualified to address these performance deficit level factors, there is an additional, less talked about role for occupational therapists. This paper attempts to bridge from traditional occupational therapy practice to looking at the occupational implications through an occupational science lens for people following concussion and their inability to access their preferred occupations.