University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Evidence for Occupational Therapy’s Effectiveness

Occupational therapy for patients with problems in activities of daily living after stroke

Reviewing nine studies with 1,258 participants, people who had a stroke were more independent in basic activities of daily living (feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting and ambulation) and more likely to maintain these abilities if they received treatment from an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

“Gold” level evidence shows that occupational therapy can help people with rheumatoid arthritis to engage in daily chores such as dressing, cooking and cleaning with less pain. Benefits are seen with occupational therapy that includes training, counseling and advice on joint protection.

Five-year retrospective study of inpatient occupational therapy outcomes for patients with multiple sclerosis

Occupational therapy was associated with positive functional outcomes (improved FIM™ scores) at discharge for inpatients with MS. Increasing occupational therapy intensity had a positive effect on functional performance in all categories except feeding, with significant correlations in upper extremity dressing and memory.

The effectiveness of occupational therapy-related treatments for persons with Parkinson’s disease: A meta-analytic review

Occupational therapy intervention results in small to moderate positive effects on outcomes related to patient capacities and abilities, as well as for outcomes related to function during activities and tasks.

Multidisciplinary rehabilitation programmes following joint replacement at the hip and knee in chronic arthropathy

“Silver” level evidence shows that early multidisciplinary rehabilitation can improve the outcomes at the level of activity and participation following hip or knee joint replacement.

Early physical and occupational therapy in mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients: A randomised controlled trial

Authors conclude that early rehabilitation paired with interruption of sedation results in better clinical outcomes at hospital discharge, compared with standard sedation and rehabilitation practices.

Mobilizing patients in the intensive care unit: improving neuromuscular weakness and physical function

Emerging research provides strong support for implementing early mobilization of patients in acute hospital and critical care settings.

Effectiveness of occupational therapy following organ transplantation

Individuals with an organ transplant who received two or more hours of occupational therapy while inpatients in an acute care facility demonstrated significant improvements in FIM scores at discharge from occupational therapy, with a positive correlation between minutes of occupational therapy care and improvements in function. This provides novel, preliminary evidence for the benefit of occupational therapy during the acute care stay of solid organ transplantation.

Randomized controlled trial of the Breast Cancer Recovery Program for women with breast cancer-related lymphedema (Research Scholars Initiative) (Clinical report)

The results of this controlled, randomized, evidence-based study showed that a standardized program of exercise and relaxation improves physical and emotional breast cancer-related lymphedema symptoms, compared to a control group receiving only health professionals’ recommendations.

Occupational therapy for independent-living older adults: a randomized controlled trial

Significant benefits for the occupational therapy preventive treatment group were found across various health, function and quality-of-life domains. Because the control groups tended to decline over the study interval, results suggest that preventive health programs based on occupational therapy may mitigate the health risks of older adulthood.

Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in promoting the well-being of independently living older people: results of the Well Elderly 2 Randomised Controlled Trial

A lifestyle-oriented occupational therapy intervention has beneficial effects for ethnically diverse older people recruited from a wide array of community settings. Because the intervention is cost-effective and is applicable on a wide-scale basis, it has the potential to help reduce health decline and promote well-being in older people.

A biobehavioral home-based intervention and the well-being of patients with dementia and their caregivers: the COPE randomized trial

Among community-living dyads, a non-pharmacologic biobehavioral environmental intervention realigning environmental demands with patient capabilities resulted in better outcomes for intervention dyads at four months and greater perceived caregiver benefits at nine months.

The effectiveness of low-vision rehabilitation on participation in daily living and quality of life

The study found significant improvements in overall quality of life and in two specific areas of daily living (reading and accessing information; emotional well-being) in people with low vision, although the magnitude and clinical significance of the rehabilitation-induced gains were modest.

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USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
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Phone: (323) 442-2850 · Toll free: (866) 385-4250
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The USC entry-level master's degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE). ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, (301) 652-6611 x2914, acoteonline.org

Professional program graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.® www.nbcot.org

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