Exploring the perceptions of individuals at the end-of-life and how they experience occupation when receiving inpatient hospital care
Occupations are defined as the activities that individuals choose to do because they have to, need to, or want to. These enable people to be independent, connect with others, develop a sense of belonging and form an identity (RCOT 2019). Occupational therapists recognise that the right to engage and participate in occupations should continue to the point of death. Thus, occupational therapists working within end-of-life care help people engage in occupations that they wish to do, which consequently assists with the acceptance of death (Pizzi 2015). A literature review was conducted examining the current research on the perceptions of individuals at the end-of-life, occupational therapists and other health professionals regarding occupational therapy and end-of-life care. The review finds that there is a lack of research regarding occupational therapy practice, occupations, and the perceptions of individuals at the end-of-life in the UK and in hospital environments. It discusses how the importance of understanding occupation from the individuals who receive end-of-life care are essential to the occupational therapy knowledge base. Considering these findings, a phenomenological methodology using an Interpretivist Phenomenology Analysis (IPA) approach was proposed to explore how individuals at the end-of-life experience and understand occupation whilst receiving inpatient EoLC. This will be achieved through conducting a semi-structured interview with the individuals at the end of-life in hospitals. The interview data will be transcribed and analysed following IPA principles. It is expected that this study will highlight how occupation in hospital environments are affected and experienced by participants at the end-of-life and emphasise the role occupation can have in enhancing an individual’s quality of life. It is hoped that this research will enable occupational therapists to expand their practice through deepening their understanding of their patient experiences, which in turn improves the quality of care and life for individuals in their final year of life.