Occupational Therapy Month: 30+ Years of NIDILRR Research

In its 30+ year history, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) has funded over 40 research projects that deal with occupational therapy (OT) and more than 250 items from the NIDILRR community can be found in our collection. To celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, we would like to share with you some of these projects and items from the NIDILRR community, along with some of the 3,600 abstracts housed in our REHABDATA database.

Current and past NIDILRR grantees that are researching or have researched different aspects of OT include the following:

  • The currently-funded Virtual Home Modifications Education Assistant (VHMEA) for Educators, Students, and Consumers (90IF0038) is developing an online virtual home tool that shows the need for home modifications for people with disabilities and allows users to find problems, solve them, and examine the results of their modification and universal design (UD) efforts. This is a great tool for OT students and professionals as the VHMEA trains them on how modifications and UD reduce issues of disability and aging at home. Accommodations are keyed to the net database of products.
  • The Life Skills: Transitioning from Homelessness and Isolation to Housing Stability and Community Integration (H133G090046) has completed its research activities. The aim of this randomized control trial was to implement, evaluate, and disseminate a life skills intervention to increase the necessary skills so as to achieve housing stability and community participation for 150 homeless adults with disabilities. The study evaluated the ability of the intervention to improve housing stability and increase the level of community integration of the participant, identify the feasibility issues that are part of delivering interventions to this vulnerable population, and train agency staff and peer mentors so that the project is sustainable. This project was based on empowerment theory, social learning theory, and the model of human occupation. This 4-volume Like Skills Manual is available from NARIC free of charge.

Some of the items in our collection on OT from the NIDILRR community and other sources include:

  • Occupational, physical, and speech therapy treatment activities during inpatients rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury (J72086) discusses a study that examined the use of OT, physical therapy, and speech therapy treatment activities for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) during their acute rehabilitation stay. The pattern of activities that was seen during the study was similar to and different from patterns seen in other practice-based evidence studies with different diagnostic groups in acute rehabilitation. In this particular study, data were obtain from over 2,000 patients admitted to acute inpatient rehabilitation centers throughout the country. These data were evaluated to identify factors associated with key TBI Inpatient rehabilitation outcomes.
  • Efficacy of an occupational therapy driving intervention for returning combat veterans (J70028) describes a study that examined the effects of an occupational therapy driving intervention (OT-DI) on the number and type of errors made by combat veterans with multiple traumas that include TBI, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and orthopedic conditions. In the study, eight combat veterans received three OT-DI sessions. These sessions mixed strategies so as to address driving errors and visual search retraining. Three OT-driver rehabilitation specialists evaluated the veterans at baseline and after the intervention using a DriveSafety250 stimulator. Preliminary data support the efficacy of the OT-DI.
  • Telehealth opportunities in occupational therapy through the Affordable Care Act (J63253) looks at the potential of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in increasing access to OT services through the use of telehealth as a service delivery model. Telehealth may increase access to services, improve functional outcomes, enhance communication and continuity of care, and promote health and wellness within each of the practice areas of OT. The use of telehealth within OT aligns with the goals of the ACA by restructuring how services are delivered and improves access to these services for those who are expected to be covered for the first time as a result of the ACA.

These projects and articles are just a few dealing with OT within the NIDILRR community and our collection. Please contact NARIC’s information specialists to find more projects and articles or to find OT resources near you. You can contact us by calling 800/346-2742, email, or chat.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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