What is important to patients in palliative care? a scoping review of the patient’s perspective
Background: The research conducted in palliative care is often medically oriented. There are few studies clarifying the patient’s preferences, priorities and desires in palliative care. The occupational therapy research conducted mostly concerns occupational therapy interventions based on the profession’s experiences. Further knowledge is needed regarding what patients in palliative care want to prioritize.
Aim: The aim was to describe what patients in palliative care describe as important at the end of life.
Methods: A scoping review was conducted using the inclusion criteria: articles published in 2004-August 2015; written in English; participants >18 years with life-threatening illness without possible cure; focusing on the patient’s experience.
Results: Seventeen articles were included in the review and they were based on interviews. The theme ‘Continuing occupational participation is important for people at the end of life’ was identified. This included five sub-themes: maintaining previous occupational patterns; feeling needed; being involved in the social environment; leaving a legacy; and living as long as you live.
Conclusions: The results show that continued occupational participation is important for people in palliative care. Occupational therapists can contribute to this by taking a highly person-centered approach and gaining information about what matters most for their clients.
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