Occupational therapy supports people with a range of health conditions – including those with palliative care needs – to do the things they need or want to do. It enables people to carry out practical, purposeful and meaningful activities. This includes essential day to day tasks – such as dressing, cooking, going shopping, as well as those occupations that make us who we are – jobs, interests, hobbies and relationships (UK College of Occupational Therapists: www.cot.co.uk). Occupational therapists in palliative care support people to make the most of life, while at the same time helping them to acknowledge and prepare for death.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the availability and scope of occupational therapy in palliative care varies widely between European countries. However, it is difficult to gain a clear picture of the situation as there are no existing networks facilitating communication and sharing information between occupational therapists.
This Task Force aims to establish connections between occupational therapists in Europe interested in palliative care, and to define the scope and remit of occupational therapy in palliative care in Europe.
A project is underway to map the provision of occupational therapy services in palliative care in Europe. Between 20th March and 19th April 2013, qualified occupational therapists in European countries who work with palliative care patients were invited to complete an on-line survey questionnaire. 260 responses were received, and this data is currently being analysed. The results will be presented at the 13th World Congress of the EAPC in Prague, at a Meet the Expert session on Friday 31st May 2013.
The results of the survey will be used to inform an Expert Paper on the role and remit of occupational therapy in palliative care in Europe, and also to decide on the future work of the Task Force.
European occupational therapists who would like to get involved in a network to support the development of occupational therapy in palliative care in Europe are warmly invited to make contact with the Task Force committee.
The Occupational Therapy Task Force works closely with the Physiotherapy Task Force, and will be holding a meeting jointly with the physiotherapists at the EAPC Prague Conference. This meeting is on Thursday 30th May 13:30 – 17:00.