Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy
Kimberley Persons, DHS, OTR/L
Annie Stone, MA, LMFT
Katie Toon, MOT, OTR, CLT
Advancements in cancer treatment have led to increased survival rates, emphasizing the importance of quality of life (QoL) for cancer patients. One critical factor impacting QoL is the presence of symptoms and side effects from cancer and cancer treatments. Disjointed care and lack of information about managing symptoms are common issues reported by cancer patients. Rehabilitative services, particularly occupational therapy, can play a vital role in supporting cancer patients in self-management of symptoms and side effects. However, availability and access to these services are lacking, especially in community settings. To address this gap, an educational program was developed at a community-based cancer support facility. The program aimed to improve self-efficacy for self-management for individuals with cancer. The program utilized a comprehensive approach that included a needs assessment to identify prevalent symptoms and side effects, pre/post self-efficacy measures to evaluate participants' confidence in managing their symptoms, and interactive modules covering common challenges such as fatigue, cognitive decline, pain, poor sleep, and emotional distress. Preliminary results from a pilot program indicate positive participant feedback and the potential for meeting unmet needs in cancer care.