Thank you for that introduction. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak to everyone today about the occupational therapist's role in cancer rehabilitation. The question I get asked all the time is, "What is the occupational therapist's role in cancer rehab?" It is a good question. I think there is a lot of cross over between what OTs and PTs do, but occupational therapists have a distinct role in cancer rehabilitation. This goes back to not only their training and their clinical expertise, but also the research.
I will start with a disclosure. I am a cofounder of Oncology Rehab Partners which has developed the STAR® Certifications. It is an evidence-based model of cancer rehab care for hospitals, cancer centers and group practices.
Institute of Medicine Reports
Let us begin with the Institute of Medicine Reports. Keep in mind that the Institute of Medicine brings together many experts who discuss very important issues in healthcare, and then come out with reports that tend to really change the way we practice medicine and make us take a hard look at what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong.
In 2006 there was an important report that came out from the Institute of Medicine called "From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor Lost in Transition". This report showed that as people transitioned from acute cancer care into the survivorship phase of treatment, they often have very fragmented care. They may have many problems that do not get addressed and they are really struggling.
The Institute of Medicine made ten key recommendations and I am going to highlight two of them.