Occupational Well-Being: Rethinking Occupational Therapy Outcomes

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Abstract

Background.Outcomes in occupational therapy focus largely on increasing and enhancing the quality of clients' occupational performance, and thus, the importance of clients' subjective experiences of their occupations are often overshadowed. Purpose.In this paper, the concept of occupational well-being is introduced. Our intent is to extend the focus beyond occupational performance and draw attention to individuals' subjective occupational experiences. Key Issues.We contend that occupational well-being is enhanced when individuals' occupational needs, including their needs for accomplishment, affirmation, agency, coherence, companionship, pleasure, and renewal are consistently met. Implications.Occupational therapists can play a vital role in enabling clients to compose or re-orchestrate their occupational lives so they are able to meet their occupational needs more consistently. This role may be fulfilled by intervening directly with clients or by indirectly influencing clients' occupational lives or society at large to effect changes at an environmental or organizational level.

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