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Occupational therapy in acute hospitals: The effectiveness of a pilot program to maintain occupational performance in older clients
journal contributionposted on 28.05.2019, 00:00 by L Eyres, Carolyn UnsworthCarolyn Unsworth
Background: Research evidence suggests that during acute hospitalisation, older people may experience reduced occupational performance, reduced quality of life, and an increased length of hospital stay. The aim of this study was to pilot a randomised controlled trial to determine whether an additional occupational therapy program could assist older adults to maintain their occupational performance. Methods and Results: A pilot study evaluated 15 clients on admission to and discharge from an acute hospital, using measures of level of independence in performing daily activities, quality of life, and confidence. Participants were randomly allocated to either the control group (those receiving current allied health management) or the experimental group (those receiving an additional program, which included daily self-care, domestic and community activities). Although the differences between the groups on admission and discharge measures only approached statistical significance, several benefits of the program were noted by clinicians and clients, and are highlighted through the presentation of client case studies. Conclusion: This pilot has highlighted the need for future research on deconditioning, the timing and nature of occupational therapy interventions, and environmental and cultural influences in acute care for older people.