PURPOSE: To critically review the evidence for occupation-based interventions in improving occupational performance and participation outcomes in the hospital setting.
METHODS: Five databases were searched from 2000-2022. Peer-reviewed studies of any design investigating the impact of occupation-based interventions in the hospital setting were included. Methodological quality was assessed using the appropriate tool for each study design. Following data extraction, a narrative synthesis was conducted.
RESULTS: Thirty-three studies comprising of 26 experimental, five non-experimental, and two mixed methods studies were included ( n = 1646 participants). Results indicate good evidence to support occupation-based interventions to improve occupational performance and participation outcomes in inpatient rehabilitation; it is unclear whether they are more effective than any control/alternative intervention. Research in the acute and mental health hospital settings were scarcer. Understanding the benefits of occupation-based interventions was enhanced through qualitative results including improving independence and confidence to discharge home, increasing motivation for therapy, connecting with others, and peer-based learning.
CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneity and methodological weaknesses across existing studies limits the conclusions that can be drawn on the impact of occupation-based interventions in the hospital setting. More rigorous research should be conducted with better reporting of intervention design and the use of robust measures of occupational performance.Implications For RehabilitationThe use of occupation-based interventions should be considered to improve occupational performance and participation outcomes in the hospital setting.There is good evidence to support the impact of occupation-based interventions on improving occupational performance and participation outcomes in the inpatient rehabilitation setting; evidence in the acute and mental health settings is scarcer.Occupation-based interventions are valued by both patients and clinicians for their impact on patient outcomes and the patient experience.