Abstract

Importance: Frailty is common in later life and increases older adults’ risk for early disability, institutionalization, and mortality.

Objective: To explore the research literature on occupational therapy interventions to improve outcomes among frail, community-dwelling older adults.

Design: Scoping review of the peer-reviewed literature about occupational therapy interventions and frailty published between January 1996 and January 2017.

Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies focused on adults age 65 yr or older, operationalized frailty as activities of daily living disability, and did not use validated frailty measures to identify frail older adults. Interventions were delivered both as a stand-alone intervention and as part of a multidisciplinary approach. Treatments focused on recommendations and training in use of adaptive devices or assistive technologies, performance of self-care, and recommendations for home modifications.

Conclusion: Additional research is warranted to build the evidence base and better inform the design and selection of occupational therapy interventions to improve outcomes among frail older adults.

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