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Evaluating a multidimensional strategy to improve the professional self-care of occupational therapists working with people with life limiting illness

Apostol, Courtney, Cranwell, Kathryn and Hitch, Danielle 2021, Evaluating a multidimensional strategy to improve the professional self-care of occupational therapists working with people with life limiting illness, BMC Palliative Care, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.1186/s12904-020-00695-x.

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Title Evaluating a multidimensional strategy to improve the professional self-care of occupational therapists working with people with life limiting illness
Author(s) Apostol, Courtney
Cranwell, Kathryn
Hitch, DanielleORCID iD for Hitch, Danielle orcid.org/0000-0003-2798-2246
Journal name BMC Palliative Care
Volume number 20
Issue number 1
Article ID 2
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher BMC
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2021-01-04
ISSN 1472-684X
Keyword(s) Occupational therapy
Life limiting conditions
Professional self-care
Resilience
Summary Background: The term ‘life limiting conditions’ refers to premature death following decline from chronic conditions, which is a common circumstance in which occupational therapists work with people at the end of life. The challenges for clinicians of working with these patients have long been recognised, and may have a significant impact on their professional self-care. This study aimed to evaluate a multidimensional workplace strategy to improve the professional self-care of occupational therapists working with people living with a life limiting condition. Methods: A pre and post mixed methods survey approach were utilised, with baseline data collection prior to the implementation of a multidimensional workplace strategy. The strategy included professional resilience education, targeted supervision prompts, changes to departmental culture and the promotion of self-care services across multiple organisational levels. Follow up data collection was undertaken after the strategy had been in place for 2 years. Quantitative data were analysed descriptively, while qualitative data were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: One hundred three occupational therapists responded (n = 55 pre, n = 48 post) across multiple service settings. Complex emotional responses and lived experiences were identified by participants working with patients with life limiting conditions, which were not influenced by the workplace strategy. Working with these patients was acknowledged to challenge the traditional focus of occupational therapy on rehabilitation and recovery. Participants were confident about their ability to access self-care support, and supervision emerged as a key medium. While the strategy increased the proportion of occupational therapists undertaking targeted training, around half identified ongoing unmet need around professional self-care with this patient group. Demographic factors (e.g. practice setting, years of experience) also had a significant impact on the experience and needs of participants. Conclusions: The multidimensional workplace strategy resulted in some improvements in professional self-care for occupational therapists, particularly around their use of supervision and awareness of available support resources. However, it did not impact upon their lived experience of working with people with life limiting conditions, and there remain significant gaps in our knowledge of support strategies for self-care of occupational therapist working with this patient group.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12904-020-00695-x
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1110 Nursing
1117 Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2021, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30146428

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.