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Occupational therapy and time use of people with dementia in long term care facilities: confirming a conceptual practice model




Lampe, Jenna L., author
Wood, Wendy, advisor
Eakman, Aaron, committee member
Lynham, Susan A., committee member

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This study aimed to further develop a dementia-specific, occupational therapy conceptual model, the Lived Environment Life Quality (LELQ) Model, by asking: how do expert occupational therapists understand and promote positive time use patterns of residents with dementia in long term care facilities? Although occupational therapists are well-situated to promote such patterns for residents with dementia, time use has not been a focus of practice. Using an action research approach, six occupational therapists were chosen through selective sampling of extreme cases. Data were collected via twelve 90-minute interviews and six focus groups. Data analysis included coding, peer review, matrix and thematic analysis, and reflexive journaling. Overall, participants confirmed time use as represented by the LELQ Model as valid. While time use patterns were implicit in their practices, they viewed every moment as a possible moment of engagement and residents as if wearing a quilt with colorful squares symbolizing potential for meaningful daily time use. Participants also recognized that workers in dementia care can sometimes view residents with dementia through a pessimistic lens akin to a gray and stifling quilt, one symbolizing lack of potential for positive time use and leading to staff alienation and negative spiraling of residents' quality of life. Conclusions are that the LELQ Model is a valid conceptual practice model tool for promoting a focus on time use patterns as a vital quality of life indicator. Further, focusing on occupational engagement across the day can be seen as the core of occupational therapy philosophy, a means to avoid occupational deprivation, and a moral obligation of occupational therapists.


2013 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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time use
occupational therapy
nursing homes


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