Contemporary occupational priorities at the end of life mapped against Model of Human Occupation constructs: A scoping review

Deidre D. Morgan, Renée R. Taylor, Mack Ivy, Stacey George, Caroline Farrow, Vincci Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: People with end-of-life care needs are seen in an increasingly diverse range of health and community settings. Opportunity for continued occupational participation is highly valued by people at the end of life. This scoping review sought to identify the priorities and preferences for participation at the end of life and to map findings using the model of human occupation. Methods: A search strategy informed by the research question was developed in collaboration with a research librarian. Data sources used were Ovid Medline(R), CINAHL, Ovid Emcare, Scopus, Web of Science and PsychInfo. Studies that focused on clinician perspectives, clinical care, grief and loss, did not clearly identify end-stage diseases, <18 years and written in languages other than English were excluded. Findings: Forty-four studies were included with a total of 1,070 study participants. Inductively developed themes were mapped against the model of human occupation constructs of volition (personal causation, values, interests), habituation (habits of occupational performance and routine), performance capacity and the lived body within the physical, social and occupational environment. The majority of findings sat within the construct of volition, particularly around sense of personal capacity, self-efficacy and values. At the end of life, people prioritise ongoing engagement in valued occupations even if participation is effortful. As disease progresses, opportunity to exert influence and control over this participation and engagement increases in importance. Personal causation plays an important role in the experience of occupational participation at this time. Conclusion: This review provides important insights into the occupational priorities of people at the end of life and the importance of supporting agency and volition at this time. The model of human occupation and its client-centred focus offer a framework for a more robust examination of ways to enhance volitional capacity and enable occupational participation for people at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-373
Number of pages33
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number3
Early online date23 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • end-of-life care
  • model of human occupation
  • occupational therapy
  • palliative care
  • volition


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