Abstract

This qualitative study examined the experiences of occupational therapists working in palliative care. Multiple qualitative interviews were conducted with each of eight occupational therapists working with people who are terminally ill. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed for recurring and unique themes. Five themes emerged: satisfaction, hardship, coping, spirituality, and growth. Common themes, while resonating through all participants’ stories, were experienced in a uniquely personal way by each participant. The result was the discovery of an individualized “personal–professional connection” for each participant. The exploration of personal–professional connections can contribute to the understanding of occupational therapy practice in palliative care. Furthermore, these individual stories may resonate for other occupational therapists and inspire personal and professional reflection; validation of feelings and issues can arise from parallel comparisons. Therapists may in turn gain insight into the relationship between their own personal and professional experiences.

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