Date Presented 04/21/2023

OT interventions can address the caregiver burden faced by caregivers of end-of-life patients. OT is often used for the patient at the end of their life but is not used to address the caregiver’s needs.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kyrra Marchese

PURPOSE: Hospice caregivers face unique challenges to their physical, psychosocial, and emotional health and well-being. Occupational therapy is qualified to address the needs of caregivers as they face the challenges of caregiver burden and burnout. The profession of occupational therapy is concerned with assisting the client in engaging in meaningful occupations specific to the client’s context and environmental factors. The hospice caregiver is a particular population with personalized barriers affecting occupational performance. Occupational therapy intervention for this population can address the contexts, environmental factors, and client factors inhibiting occupational performance and increasing caregiver burden and burnout. Using occupational therapy interventions, caregiver burden instances can decrease for the hospice caregiver.

DESIGN: This experimental design study was conducted in collaboration with caregiving staff at the Abraham House, a home for the terminally ill, in upstate NY. Participants were recruited from the caregiving staff of the Abraham House and participated in a 6-week OT intervention program to address issues of caregiver burden.

METHOD: The Maslach-Burnout Self-Assessment Inventory (MBI) was used to establish pre and post-level caregiver burnout within the participants.

RESULTS: Participants showed decreased perceived levels of caregiver burnout following a 6-week OT intervention. The sample size was small, and therefore results are not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Although the results were not statistically significant, all participants reported decreased levels of caregiver burden and increased participation in occupations following OT intervention. The need for OT to address the needs of caregivers is relevant to the advocacy and promotion of the profession. OT’s holistic nature aligns with the goals of hospice and end-of-life care to improve the lives of patients and caregivers.


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