The cornerstone of chronic respiratory illness care is pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), a multidisciplinary strategy that improves persons’ exercise capacity and skills to fulfill activities of daily life (ADLs). Although the scope of practice for occupational therapy (OT) focuses on comparable objectives to PR, the tasks/roles and benefits of adding OT in PR have not been studied. Therefore, for a study, researchers summarised the tasks/roles, guidelines suggestions, prevalence, and impacts of OT as part of PR initiatives.

A total of 51 entries were found after scanning four databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane), OT association websites, and hand searching. Teaching energy-saving strategies (n=23), addressing ADLs (n=17), and aiding with breathlessness management (n=10) are the most commonly mentioned OT tasks/roles. Using the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement, these tasks/roles were classified as a person (n=16 unique tasks/roles), occupation (n=6 tasks/roles), environment (n=5 tasks/roles), and other (n=3 tasks/roles), and were supported by two practice guidelines addressing OT in PR programs. According to 13 PR studies conducted across four continents, 17-92% of PR plans used OT. The inclusion of OT in PR improved ADLs, pulmonary function, dyspnea, quality of life, and mortality.

Although a growing number of public relations schools incorporate occupational therapists in their multidisciplinary teams, few original research and recommendations reflect on the tasks/roles and advantages of OT in public relations. Therefore, more study was required to precisely identify the tasks/roles of OT in multidisciplinary PR teams, as well as their contributions to improving patient outcomes.