Purpose: Currently, there is a lack of research exploring evidence-based occupational therapy intervention practices at the activity level in survivorship care, which is important to identify for future research and clinical needs of the profession. The purpose of this study was to describe what activity level interventions OT practitioners are using and report any practice trends that might exist. Method: A cross-section design was used with non-probability purposive sampling to recruit occupational therapy practitioners working with adults living with and beyond cancer. A three-phase process for survey development and implementation was used, as recommended by the literature, for improving content validity and minimizing measurement error. Results: A total of 267 surveys were distributed and 70 surveys returned (26.20% response rate). Given the range and frequency of responses, it is suggested that occupational therapy practitioners focus on individual needs for function and participation and are not limiting practice to physical impairments. There were several areas that only a small percentage of respondents identified addressing with clients, including shopping (range 5.83-9.23%), driving and community mobility (range 5.90-9.58%), and financial management (range .74-10.20%) that typically fall into outpatient and community health practice settings. Conclusion: We reviewed current oncology intervention and referral practice trends for occupational therapy and pose several implications for advancing clinical practice in oncology. Future research into interventions not supported by literature that occupational therapists identified currently using in practice is needed.

Author Bio(s)

Katie M. Polo, DHS, OTR, CLT-LANA, is an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN.

Mary Frances Baxter, PhD, OT, FAOTA, is the Associate Director and Professor of the Sophie Lin Rydin School of Occupational Therapy at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, TX.


We would like to thank the following student researchers for their assistance with this study: Kelsey Badger, Meghan Harkness, Addie Jacobs, Jennifer Lynn, and Elizabeth Mathews.




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