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A phenomenological study was conducted to evaluate the occupational impact of transitioning out of the hospice family caregiver role in order to define and advocate for occupational therapy’s role in hospice and bereavement care, during and after hospice services. This study was conducted using qualitative in-depth interviews of former hospice family caregivers recruited from Facebook groups, online caregiver forums, and snowball sampling. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded using the software Dedoose, and analyzed thematically. The results of the thematic analysis suggested that the occupational impact of losing the caregiver role is correlated to (1) the quality of support systems, (2) social, cultural, spiritual and religious influences, and (3) participation in occupations that connect them to their loved one, personal projects and goals, and health-promoting restorative occupations. Occupational therapy can be a beneficial support in the assessment and intervention of occupational impacts in pre-bereavement and bereavement services to increase positive health outcomes and quality of life.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Hospice Care, Family, Caregivers, Grief, Bereavement, Occupational Therapy, Qualitative Research


Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Fall 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on December 11, 2020.

Life After Death: An Occupational Therapy Perspective on Supporting Hospice Caregivers in the Transition out of the Caregiver Role