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Keywords:

  • barriers;
  • occupational therapy;
  • palliative care;
  • qualitative research

Aim: To explore potential barriers to occupational therapy in palliative care in Western Australia, as perceived by occupational therapists and other health professionals.

Method: A qualitative research methodology was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 occupational therapists and 10 health professionals (including a physiotherapist, a social worker, medical registrars and clinical nurses). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis.

Results: The four main themes identified were: inconsistent understanding of the contribution that occupational therapists can make to palliative care, insufficient promotion of the potential contribution of occupational therapy, insufficient funding, and limited research on the role of occupational therapy in palliative care.

Conclusion: This study provides an understanding of the barriers that have limited occupational therapists’ involvement in providing palliative care in Western Australia.