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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.

Publication Date

Spring 5-19-2023


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


end-of-life care, hospice care, palliative care, occupational therapy, occupational participation, occupational engagement, quality of life

Medical Subject Headings

Terminal Care, Terminally Ill; Quality of Life, Hospice Care, Palliative Care, Occupational Therapy, Education, Professional


Geriatrics | Occupational Therapy | Palliative Care


Poster presented at the Spring 2023 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 4 and April 12, 2023.

Guidebook for Occupational Therapy for End-of-Life Care