Date of Award

Spring 4-14-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Mary Smith


Patients at the end-of-life (EoL) experience functional decline in response to terminal illness and the active dying process, inhibiting participation and engagement in meaningful daily activities. Occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) are equipped to address patients’ occupational needs and desires despite their declining capacities; however, the absence of occupational therapy (OT) services in EoL care leaves patients’ occupational needs unmet, directly affecting their quality of life. The literature demonstrates the need for enhanced education and training among occupational therapy students (OTS) and practitioners to better prepare them to work with terminally ill patients who face progressive functional decline and imminent death. To address this problem, a Guidebook for Occupational Therapy in End-of-Life Care was developed to educate OTS and OTP on the EoL care setting, the need for OT services within this setting, and the role, scope, and delivery of OT services for this population. The purpose of this guidebook is to promote the presence of OTP and enhance the utilization of OT services in EoL care to facilitate occupational participation and engagement, and therefore promote quality of life preceding death. A capstone document consisting of five chapters provides foundational information on OT in EoL care and the methodology for guidebook creation. The development of this capstone and project will expand OT practice and broaden the scope of EoL care to comprehensively meet the needs of terminally ill patients and their families.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor or Occupational Therapy