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Role of occupational therapy in care of terminal patients
  1. Jennifer Miller, Senior Occupational Therapist and
  2. Jill Cooper, Head Occupational Therapist
  1. The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, Surrey. Email: jenny.miller{at}; jill.cooper{at}


The occupational therapist (OT) maximises patients’ quality of life, by the use of equipment, adaptations to the home environment, education regarding the management of symptoms and the resultant deficits, plus ongoing support and collaboration with the patient, carers and members of the multiprofessional team. Within palliative and end-of-life care, OT interventions must be prompt due to patients’ changing functional status and health. Flexibility, problem-solving skills and continuity are essential for effective occupational therapy, particularly when complex issues arise, such as patients who experience cognitive deficits and lack of insight into the implications of their condition. A trusting rapport must be established between the OT and the patient to enable the patient and carer to feel comfortable asking for support from the OT. Using a case scenario of a patient diagnosed with a brain tumour, this article describes the OT’s role in end-of-life care. It highlights the OT as a key member of the multiprofessional team who enables rehabilitation at home, during end-of-life care. Conflicts of interest: none

  • End-of-life care
  • Occupational therapy
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Multiprofessional working

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