Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

Subject Categories

Terminal care--Social aspects; Terminal care; Occupational therapy for children; Occupational therapy


This study examined how occupational therapists use play in their treatments when working with children with life threatening conditions. The study followed a qualitative format, and all therapists were interviewed a total of three times using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were designed to gather an understanding of how these occupational therapists work with children with life threatening conditions and the ways in which they utilize play. Four major themes arose from the interviews along with two sub-themes. The four major themes were, play as a means, playful moments, condition dependent limitations, and reimbursement. The two sub-themes were, the importance of play and allowing for more play at end of life. Findings from this study suggest that while therapists value play as an occupation, they are typically using it as a means to another end in therapy with children with life threatening conditions. Additionally, therapists face many challenges to incorporating play into treatment when working with children with life threatening conditions such as, insurance reimbursement and the confines of practicing in a hospital-based setting.



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