Describing Occupations

A new program to provide rehabilitation services for clients with multiple sclerosis is being designed. The program will serve clients who are living in the community and are admitted for short-term rehabilitation services. In planning their part of the program, the occupational therapists search the literature to find information about the daily occupations that are typically challenging for persons with multiple sclerosis. They find a study that use the COPM in a similar population to identify the most common occupations that were challenging.

Mansson Lexell, Iwarsson and Lexell (2006) used the COPM with 47 men and women with multiple sclerosis to describe problems in their daily occupations and examine differences by age, severity, sex and living arrangements. Findings from the study indicated that participants reported 366 occupations (range of 3 to 15) with 51% in self-care, 30% in productivity and 19% in leisure. The most prevalent types of occupations included household management, personal care and functional mobility. Men had more self-care occupations, while productivity and leisure were similar between men and women. Age, disease severity, and living arrangements did not significantly explain differences between occupations that were identified and scored for performance and satisfaction. The occupational therapists use this information to create an overall plan for specific individual interventions and group programs to meet the most common needs of clients with multiple sclerosis. As part of the program, they administer the COPM to each client to identify specific problems for which individual intervention can be provided. The use of the information in the research article helped direct the focus of the program during the planning phase.

Månsson Lexell, E., Iwarsson, S., & Lexell, J. (2006). The complexity of daily occupations in multiple sclerosis. Scandinavian journal of occupational therapy, 13(4), 241-248.

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