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Development of an evidence-informed education package for occupational therapists for palliative and end of life care: promoting occupational justice
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-03, 23:05 authored by K Kessner, Danielle HitchDanielle Hitch
Introduction: Death is inevitable, yet hospitals and health services continue to focus on life-sustaining practices despite clients presenting with clear decline related to life-limiting illness. Social and occupational injustice is common for clients receiving palliative or end-of-life care, as they experience increased occupational disengagement and disempowerment. A gap was identified in the Occupational Therapy department of a metropolitan Australian hospital regarding clinician skills, knowledge and confidence in working with these clients. Objective: To describe the development of an evidence informed education package designed to support occupational therapists to provide the best possible quality of care and promote occupational justice for clients receiving palliative or end-of-life care. Method: Consultation with key stakeholders and a review of existing resources including a skills audit, was conducted to identify current practice. A review of professional and grey literature was completed, and benchmarking with similar organisations provided a wider perspective on current Australian practice. Review of widely available educational resources were evaluated. Results: Baseline data collection confirmed that promoting occupational and social justice for people requiring palliative or end-of-life care was under-recognised across the health service. Benchmarking identified significant variation in educational practices across similar Australian health services. The structure and content of a face-to-face clinical education session was formulated using evidence from the literature review and relevant available resources. There are plans to transfer this education package to an e-learning platform with evaluation built into the package to allow content to remain up to date. Conclusion: Occupational Therapy clinicians are well placed to promote occupational and social justice for people requiring palliative or end-of-life care but require additional occupationally focused education to optimise their practice in this area.