Using the COPM in Program Development

The COPM is a useful tool throughout the therapy process: in initiating the therapist client interaction, in identifying client identified performance issues and setting the stage for client-selected intervention goals and then establishing the client’s perspective on outcomes.

There are excellent examples in the literature of intervention approaches that have been designed around this process. For example, Helen Healy and Patty Rigby (1999) used the COPM in developing TIP, a Teen Independence Program, to promote the independence for teens and young adults with a variety of physical disabilities including cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and spina bifida. Using the COPM in a Pre-test/post-test format the program serves to identify issues and improve performance in daily living skills.

In a similar fashion, the COPM is a corner stone of the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach, introduced by Polatajko and Mandich (2004). The intervention starts with the COPM, using it is as a basis for client-identified intervention goals and client-rated baseline performance. The COPM is then again used at the end of the intervention to establish post-intervention performance. The approach has strong evidence for effectiveness with clients of a variety of ages from 4 through to older adult and a variety of diagnosis including DCD, Asperger’s Disease, TBI, and Stroke.

In Sweden, Wressle and colleagues used the COPM to gather information about client’s occupational performance problems to inform the development of a multidisciplinary day treatment program for clients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Healy, H., & Rigby, P. (1999). Promoting independence for teens and young adults with physical disabilities. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 240–249.

Polatajko, H. J. & Mandich, A. (2004). Enabling occupation in children: The Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach. Ottawa, ON: CAOT Publications ACE.

Wressle, E., Lindstrand, J., Neher, M., Marcusson, J., & Henriksson, C. (2003). The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure as an outcome measure and team tool in a day treatment programme. Disability & Rehabilitation, 25(10), 497-506.

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