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Occupational therapy’s role in hospice: Identifying occupational roles through the use of reminiscing and storytelling at end-of-life

1 January 2015


Despite purporting to serve the entire lifespan from birth until death, occupational therapy continues to search for its identity related to end-of-life services. Research exploring the role of occupational therapy in end-of-life care continues to be limited based on a small number of therapists practicing in the field and a misperceived role interpreted by other health professionals. This paper explores the expansion of occupational therapy’s role in a hospice setting through the identification of occupational roles and meaningful occupation using reminiscence and storytelling at end-of-life. The Role Checklist, a modified version of the Role Checklist, and a semi-structured interview were used to assess four case study subjects. Interventions were implemented based on identified occupational roles and meaningful occupations at end-of-life. Three themes emerged including: reminiscing as assessment and intervention, the occupation of participation, and reminiscence, client-centeredness, and planting seeds. Findings suggest that reminiscence and storytelling can be used to identify occupational roles and occupation at end-of-life, enabling individuals to form deeper connections to the things they find most meaningful. Findings also suggest that reminiscence and storytelling can be used as occupation and can also build client-rapport throughout the assessment and intervention processes.


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