Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation

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1 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation Steve Park, Sue Byers-Connon Key Terms Leisure Social participation Life satisfaction Well-being Quality of life Health Client-centered Chapter Objectives After studying this chapter, the student or practitioner will be able to do the following: 1. Identify the characteristics that distinguish leisure and social participation from other areas of occupation. 2. Apply the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework to leisure and social participation with clients. 3. Explain the contribution of leisure and social participation to life satisfaction, quality of life, well-being, and health for all persons. 4. Appreciate the leisure and social challenges faced by some persons with physical disabilities. 5. Illustrate different client-centered methods to gather information about the importance and meaning of leisure and social participation. 6. Implement occupational therapy intervention that promotes the benefi t of engaging in leisure and social activities. Because we freely choose them, our play and leisure activities may be some of the purest expressions of who we are as persons. 7 Winnie, Part 1: Engaging in Valued Daily Life Activities* Maintaining a healthy balance between work and leisure can be a challenge, as many people struggle to make time for activities they enjoy. Winnie, a 74-year-old woman, has never had this problem. Throughout her life, Winnie maintained a beneficial balance between work and leisure activities, enjoying the best of both. As a young woman, she enjoyed dance lessons, traveling, and attending the theatre while also working various jobs as a model, bookkeeper, and secretary. She raised five children and volunteered at her children s school. After her children left home, she worked full-time as an administrative secretary in the allied health division at a community college. Since her retirement, Winnie continues to maintain an active life. Her leisure pursuits are many; she particularly enjoys gardening, embroidery, cooking, and swimming. Winnie and her husband Bill often go out to dance, and she is a member of a tap dancing group that performs at various fundraising activities in association with the local Elks Club. Winnie is also an active volunteer at her church and is responsible each Sunday for the altar flower arrangements. Family and friends are the center of Winnie s life. At regular family gatherings with children and grandchildren, everyone enjoys a good meal (particularly Winnie s cheesecake) and the friendly competition of a board game. Winnie attends her grandchildren s sporting events, rarely missing a game. Winnie hand-embroidered a unique Christmas stocking for each of her children and grandchildren. Her sense of humor, ready smiles, and bountiful laugh are familiar to many. She and several friends who were born in May are known as the May Babies. Every year they celebrate their birthdays by going to the beach, where they enjoy playing cards, cooking their favorite seafood stew, and visiting the local casino. Two and a half months before her 75th birthday, Winnie had a stroke. 357 Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:43 PM

2 358 PART V Performance e in Areas of Occupation Leisure and Social Participation There are many rhythms the big four work and play and rest and sleep, which our organism must be able to balance even under difficulty. 32 From the early days, occupational therapy (OT) practitioners emphasized the importance of a healthy balance in daily activities. This tradition continues as occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) address the broad array of activities in which humans engage. Leisure and social participation are two areas of occupation that are perhaps less frequently addressed than are the other areas: activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental ADL (IADL), education, work, and play. 1 Contextual participation in occupation is the primary focus and outcome for clients receiving OT services (Box 19-1). Although the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines leisure and social participation,* what specifically identifies an activity as leisure, social participation, or another area of occupation? One perspective identifies leisure as the time spent in activities left over after a person completes obligatory activities, such as ADL, IADL, education, or work. 36 For example, Robin travels for work, meeting with clients during the day and often during mealtimes. These engagements take up much of her time on the road; she spends her free time in the hotel reading novels, relaxing in the bath, and phoning friends. The activities associated with work are considered obligatory; her free time activities are considered leisure. Thus if an activity is not identified as obligatory, by default, it is leisure. Another perspective identifies leisure activities according to commonly agreed-upon features that a society associates with leisure. Common features include pleasurable, creative, stimulating, physically or mentally challenging, relaxing, artistic, energetic, competitive, and social. If an activity has one or more of these features, the activity is identified as leisure. These features categorize and differentiate leisure activities, such as active versus sedentary, relaxing versus energetic, or social versus solitary. From this perspective, a person s leisure activities can be identified and categorized. For example, Brad likes to pursue more solitary and physically challenging activities, such as running through the park and swimming laps. Geneva enjoys more social and mentally challenging activities, such as playing chess and attending a book club. Thus although many activities are considered leisure, they may take very different forms. Categorizing leisure activities by their common features recognizes the social nature commonly associated with leisure. This perspective, however, considers social activity a subcategory of leisure. Leisure activities should be differentiated from social activities because not all social activities involve leisure (and vice versa). 6 Interestingly, when older adults discuss the role of activities in their lives, they tend to refer to activities as social, physical, or mental 40 rather than self-care, * Hereafter, also called leisure and social activities. Box 19-1 Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Leisure and Social Participation Leisure Lesiure is [a] nonobligatory activity that is intrinsically motivated and engaged in during discretionary time, that is, time not committed to obligatory occupations such as work, self-care, or sleep. 35 Exploration: Identifying interests, skills, opportunities, and appropriate leisure activities. Participation: Planning and participating in appropriate leisure activities; maintaining a balance of leisure activities with other areas of occupation; and obtaining, using, and maintaining equipment and supplies as appropriate. Social Participation Social participation includes activities associated with organized patterns of behavior that are characteristic and expected of an individual or an individual interacting with others within a given social system. 34 Community: Activities that result in successful interaction at the community level (i.e., neighborhood, organizations, work, school). Family: [Activities that result in] successful interaction in specifi c required and/or desired familial roles. 34 Peer, Friend: Activities at different levels of intimacy, including engaging in desired sexual activity. Modifi ed from American Occupational Therapy Association: Occupational therapy practice framework: domain and process, Am J Occup Ther 56(6):621, productive, or play/leisure, the categories OT practitioners often use. Categorizing leisure and social activities is advantageous for studying and discussing daily life activities. However, these categories do not account for a person s individual perspective of and meaning associated with leisure and social activities. 37 For example, Tyrome attends a going-away party for a co-worker and experiences the party as leisure. Scott attends the same party, considering it obligatory, and experiences it more as work. To confuse matters even more, it is a social activity for both. To account for each person s unique perspective, professionals need to understand leisure as an experience, a state of mind unique to each person. 20,37,45 Although very different activities may be experienced as leisure, research reveals qualities that characterize an activity as more leisurely than work (Box 19-2). 28,37,40,45 For the person to consider an activity as leisure, he or she does not need to experience each and every quality. Rather, if the person experiences many of these qualities (not necessarily all), the activity will more likely be experienced as leisure. More importantly, the greater the intensity of each characteristic experienced (again, not necessarily all), the more the activity will be experienced as leisure. 7,8 Given these qualities, particularly the sense of control, enjoyment, competence, Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:48 PM

3 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation 359 Box 19-2 Characteristics of Leisure Activities Freedom of choice: The person freely chooses the activity (nonobligatory). Sense of control: The person feels in charge during the activity. Sense of enjoyment: The activity evokes pleasurable feelings. Timelessness: Time seems to fly by while engaged in the activity. Sense of competence: The person feels a sense of proficiency and accomplishment. Spontaneity: The person could participate in the activity on the spur of the moment. Intrinsic satisfaction: The person feels a sense of doing something worthwhile. Companionship: A sense of camaraderie and friendship is experienced. Lack of external judgment: The person s performance is not evaluated by others. Figure 19-1 Spending time with family contributes to global life satisfaction. intrinsic satisfaction, and companionship, how do leisure and social participation relate to each other and to life satisfaction, well-being, quality of life, and health? Importance of Leisure and Social Activities in Everyday Life Considerable evidence suggests that participation in meaningful leisure and social activities is related to and significantly influences a person s well-being, life satisfaction, quality of life, or health, particularly for older adults. 11,12,25,28,39 Older adults who are more active tend to live longer, and evidence suggests that social and productive activities (which include leisure) can be as effective as physical fitness activities in reducing a person s risk of death and enhancing quality of life. 16 For older adults, satisfaction with leisure activities and the quality of their social interactions appears more important to life satisfaction than the amount of leisure participation or frequency of social contacts. 29,40 For older adults living independently in the community, less frequent participation in and decreased access to leisure activities do not automatically equate to diminished life satisfaction. 17 Rather, even valued [leisure] activities, pursued infrequently, may add meaning and satisfaction to the lives of elderly people. 17 Moreover, spending time with family appears related more to global life satisfaction, whereas spending time with friends appears to be an important factor associated with day-to-day happiness 29 (Figures 19-1 and 19-2). Engagement in leisure pursuits helps develop social support networks, 25 and the prospect of establishing social connections is a primary reason why adults may choose to pursue a specific activity. 40 Most pointedly, when older adults discuss activities in their lives that have the most meaning, they rarely mention basic ADL tasks. 40 Rather, leisure Figure 19-2 Spending time with friends contributes to day-today happiness. and social activities are viewed as having the most meaning in their everyday lives. Importance for People with Disabilities Research also highlights the importance of leisure and social activities in the everyday lives of adults with physical disabilities. For persons with severe multiple traumas, the most important contributors to overall life satisfaction are family life, a sufficient social network, satisfaction with leisure, and vocation. 5 A strong relationship appears to exist between well-being and involvement in leisure activities for persons with stroke, more so than other factors. 46 Adults with congenital disabilities report the importance of leisure in their lives, believing that leisure participation contributes to their physical and mental health. 43 They describe the pure joy of Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:49 PM

4 360 PART V Performance e in Areas of Occupation engaging in leisure activities and the sense of belonging and self-worth that leisure and social activities promote. Diminished Participation for People with Disabilities Although adults with disabilities can experience the benefits of leisure and social activities (similar to people without disabilities), considerable evidence suggests that many do not. Many adults with stroke, arthritis, Parkinson s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions are unhappy with their reduced participation in leisure and social activities. 8 Research confirms that persons after a stroke do not participate in as many leisure and social activities and experience a decline in well-being and quality of life. 4,33,48,50 After discharge from inpatient rehabilitation, persons with stroke often report that participation in social and leisure activities is the most troublesome problem and the area in which they most desire change. 50 These feelings are also common among adults with arthritis, who also experience a loss of valued social and leisure activities. 44,51 People with cardiac conditions tend to have a narrower range of leisure activities. 15 People with spinal cord injuries tend to participate in fewer recreation and out-of-home activities than people without disabilities; their participation in social activities, however, appears similar. 6 Older residents at assisted living centers voice concerns about the following: 1) participating in center-sponsored activities because they are convenient and available, not because they are meaningful; 2) occupying their time with predominantly group activities designed to promote socialization; and 3) missing the opportunity to engage in activities more on their own. 14 These and other research studies demonstrate that participation in leisure and social activities is a significant concern for people with disabilities. OT practitioners can provide a needed service in this area. Facilitating Leisure and Social Participation Leisure is an occupational performance area, a state of mind, time to be filled, and a tangible activity through which therapeutic goals are met. 45 Adults with disabilities advocate for leisure and social activities as an integral part of their rehabilitation. Persons with stroke receiving inpatient rehabilitation services report that leisure activities are a means to their recovery and a lifeline to regain a sense of control over their situations. 13 They strongly desire more leisure and social activities during inpatient rehabilitation and believe this would speed their recovery, alleviate boredom, and ward off potential depression. However, rehabilitation services (particularly inpatient services) place greater emphasis on physical independence in mobility and basic ADL tasks and limited emphasis on leisure and social participation. 43 As Radomski so pointedly stated after reviewing the stroke rehabilitation literature, we have succeeded in facilitating the recovery of patients physical skills after stroke but not in advancing their resumption of the social, leisure, and productive activities that make life worth living. 38 Although helping clients achieve greater ADL independence is essential, exclusive focus on this outcome ignores what is important to everyone disability or not. Engagement in leisure and social activities brings greater life satisfaction, quality of life, and well-being than independent performance of basic ADL tasks does. Although people with disabilities recognize the significance of leisure and social activities, clients sometimes may not recognize this importance, 45 especially if they were admitted to the hospital for a reason secondary to a health condition. Such clients often just want to get better; leisure and social activities may be the last thing on their minds. In these situations, OT practitioners should not force the issue. Rather, they should thoughtfully and considerately explore, in collaboration with the client, leisure and social activities of importance, gently advocating that leisure and social participation can be a significant part of recovery. Overview of Occupational Therapy Process OT practitioners begin the evaluation process by creating an occupational profile 1 that includes a focus on the meaning of leisure and social activities in the client s life. The evaluation process includes an analysis of occupational performance that should include the client s ability to participate in desired leisure and social activities, including what supports and hinders his or her ability. Once this information is gathered, OT practitioners develop the intervention plan, collaborating with the client to develop realistic and achievable goals that focus on leisure and social participation, and selecting methods appropriate to the goals and the situation. The plan is then implemented; after a period of intervention, the client and OT practitioner(s) evaluate whether the desired outcome was achieved that is, whether the client s leisure and social participation improved. The following sections illustrate this process. Evaluation Process It is important that [OT practitioners] learn from each client what occupations are important for his or her health and well-being and how current problems are interfering with performance of those occupations. 27 Following a client-centered approach, OT practitioners seek to understand the client s perspective on important and meaningful leisure and social activities, particularly those of current concern. The evaluation process is the same as for other areas of occupation; interviews, observations, and standardized assessments are used to gather needed information. 1 Although the occupational therapist begins and completes the initial evaluation, the OTA may perform specific evaluation procedures once service competency is established. 2,3 The OTA may conduct an interview, observe a client, or administer a standardized assessment. The OTA shares the Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:51 PM

5 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation 361 information with the occupational therapist, who is then responsible for its interpretation. Interviewing Clients The purpose of interviewing is to gather essential information to begin intervention, but not all information need be gathered during one session. Working collaboratively, the occupational therapist and OTA may decide that the occupational therapist will briefly review leisure and social activities with a client at initiation of the evaluation and that the OTA will follow with a more-depth interview. An informal, conversational style that prompts the client to tell stories about his or her leisure and social activities will better elicit the type of information desired the meaning of leisure and social participation in the client s life (Figure 19-3.) To ensure a clientcentered approach, the OTA should begin by asking the client what he or she considers leisure rather than using culturally defined notions of leisure. 45 The OTA should not continue on to another question after receiving only a brief response to a previous one. The meaning of and benefits received from leisure and social activities cannot be communicated adequately, nor understood by the interviewer, with a one-word or one-sentence response. Follow-up questions fully illuminate the meaning of activities (Table 19-1). A conversation with careful followup questions elicits rich narrative data useful to plan intervention. 8 By the end of the conversation, the OTA should understand (1) the meaning of leisure and social activities in the client s life; and (2) specific leisure and social activities of most importance and concern to the client that could be addressed during therapy. If a client has difficulty communicating, a similar conversation with family members should occur. Information about leisure and social activities should be gathered throughout intervention, reflected upon, and used to modify the intervention plan. 1 The OTA should be sensitive to when a client might be ready to explore new pursuits. The client who cannot resume previous activities is confronted with a loss of self, a particularly distressing time. Figure 19-3 An informal conversation best elicits the meaning of leisure and social participation. Table 19-1 Interview Questions Regarding Client s Leisure and Social Activities General Questions What do you consider leisure activities in your life? What activities do you do with friends or family? What activities do you participate with people who are not family or friends? What characterizes the type of leisure activities you prefer? What activities during the week do you like to do because you want to do them, not because you feel obligated? In which activities do you forget about everything else and time seems to fl y? Are there activities that you feel you are free to do the way you want? For the activities you identify as leisure or social, what feelings do you experience? What is (or has been) your routine of leisure and social activities? What are the leisure and social activities of concern right now? Follow-Up Questions What is it about those activities that make them leisure? What do you consider nonleisure? What about those activities do you enjoy? What is important about those activities? What is it about those activities that you enjoy? What is important about those activities? Are they more creative? Intellectual? Physical? Relaxing? Competitive? Social? Solitary? What is it about them that you like? What makes them nonobligatory? What makes time fl y during those activities? What is it that makes you forget about everything else? What allows you to do them the way you want? What is it that appeals to you about those activities? Do you feel satisfi ed? Competent? Joyful? A feeling of camaraderie? What is important about engaging in a routine of leisure and social activities? How do (or have) leisure and social activities contribute to your well-being and life satisfaction? What is of most concern? Which ones are most important to you? Adapted from Bundy AC: Assessment of play and leisure: delineation of the problem, Am J Occup Ther 47(3): Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:52 PM

6 362 PART V Performance e in Areas of Occupation When a client shows readiness to consider new interests, the client and OTA can explore potential activities that have features similar to those in which the client previously engaged and in which the client may be successful and satisfied (see Case Study: Dimitri). 45 Dimitri* Dimitri, a 28-year-old carpet layer, experienced multiple physical traumas from an auto accident. He was admitted to inpatient rehabilitation for a short stay. Although leisure was mentioned during the initial evaluation, Dimitri s priority was to get stronger to manage his basic ADL tasks and return to work. Three days before discharge, Dimitri began to acknowledge that he could not return to work as soon as he hoped and that he would have a lot of free time on his hands. At this time, he and the OTA began exploring his interests and how he might occupy his time at home, focusing on those leisure and social activities of interest that were within his capabilities. Observing Clients Whenever feasible, the OTA should observe a client engage in specific desired leisure and social activities, noting the effectiveness of the client s performance skills (see Case Study: Stella). 1 Stella* Stella was recently diagnosed with Parkinson s disease and began outpatient OT. The occupational therapist conducted the initial evaluation, during which she learned that Stella enjoyed creating greeting cards for friends and family on the computer but had stopped because of the difficulty and frustration she experienced as a result of the disease. The occupational therapist discussed the evaluation results and intervention plan with the OTA, who then assumed responsibility for intervention. The OTA began by asking Stella if she could observe her using the computer in the clinic, explaining this would provide her with a clearer understanding of Stella s performance skills that supported and hindered her ability to use the computer and to perform other activities in her daily life. Administering Standardized Assessments Standardized assessments that focus on leisure and social activities may complement the evaluation process. Standardized interest checklists, such as the original Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) Interest Check List, 30 and updated versions, such as the Modified Interest Checklist, 22 provide an overview of a client s interest in specific leisure and social activities. These assessments list a variety of activities; the client identifies which he or she pursued in the past, is currently participating in, or might want to pursue in the future as well as his or her degree of interest (e.g., none, some, strong). These assessments typically do not ask the client to add to the list other activities he or she considers leisure or social, nor do they explore the meaning of the activities to the client. A conversation is required to solicit this information. Moreover, interest checklists need to be updated periodically to reflect societal changes in how people typically occupy their leisure and social time. However, checklists updated without standardization cannot be used in the same way as the standardized interest checklists. Other standardized assessments ask the client to identify activities that he or she considers leisure or social and identifies the client s performance pattern for those and other activities. The Occupational Questionnaire (OQ) 42 is a selfreport assessment based on the Model of Human Occupation. 21 It asks the client to document the main activity in which he or she engages for each half-hour throughout a morning, day, and evening and identify each activity as work, daily living task, recreation, or rest (Figure 19-4). For each activity, the client rates how well he or she does the activity, how important it is, and how much he or she enjoys it. Using the OQ allows the OTA to understand which activities the client considers leisure (if any) and to explore the meaning of leisure from the client s perspective. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) 26 is another standardized assessment that allows a client to identify activities that he or she considers leisure and social. During this interview-based assessment, the OT practitioner asks a client to identify specific self-care, productive, and leisure activities considered important and that the client needs, wants, or is expected to do. The COPM also prompts the interviewer to ask about quiet, active, and social activities. Interestingly, research indicates that use of the COPM identifies additional leisure concerns for people with physical disabilities beyond those identified in typical interview procedures. 31,49 Other self-report standardized assessments focus more on the meaning and experience of leisure and social activities. Instead of asking the client to identify specific activities in his or her daily life, the client rates his or her perspective on specific qualities associated with leisure (Box 19-3). The Idyll Arbor Leisure Battery, 9 a battery of assessments developed within the field of therapeutic recreation, contains the Leisure Attitude Measurement, Leisure Interest Measurement, Leisure Satisfaction Measure, and Leisure Motivation Scale all self-report questionnaires that explore various leisure qualities. Although standardized assessments may appear to be a quick and easy method to gather information, the OTA should typically start with an interview and use a standardized assessment to supplement the information gathered during the interview. Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:53 PM

7 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation 363 Typical Activities I consider this activity to be: I think that I do this: For me this activity is: How much do you enjoy this activity: For the half hour beginning at: 1= Work 2= Daily living task 3= Recreation 4= Rest 1= Very well 2= Well 3= Above average 4= Poorly 5= Very poorly 1= Extremely important 2= Important 3= Take it or leave it 4= Rather not do it 5= Total waste of time 1= Like it very much 2= Like it 3= Neither like it nor dislike it 4= Dislike it 5= Strongly dislike it 5.00 a.m a.m a.m Figure 19-4 The Occupational Questionnaire: a sample selection. (From Smith NR, Kielhofner G, Watts J: Occupational questionnaire, Chicago, 1986, Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse.) Box 19-3 Sample Questions from the Leisure Interest Measurement Domain Question Answers Physical I like leisure activities that require physical challenge. Never true Outdoor I like the fresh air of outdoor settings. Seldom true Mechanical I like repairing or building things in my leisure time. Somewhat Artistic I like to be original in my leisure activities. Often true Service I often participate in service activities in my leisure time. Always true Social I prefer to engage in leisure activities that require social interaction. Cultural I have a strong attraction to the cultural arts. Reading I lke to read im my free time. Adapted from Ragheb MG, Beard JG: Leisure interest measure, Ravensdale, WA, 2002, Idyll Arbor, Inc. Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:54 PM

8 364 PART V Performance e in Areas of Occupation Winnie, Part 2: Focusing on Valued Activities after Her Stroke* While in the hospital, Winnie also developed bronchitis. Because of her limited cardiopulmonary endurance, she was subsequently transferred to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for extended (and less intensive) rehabilitation. On admission, she needed substantial assistance with getting in and out of bed, completing basic ADL tasks, and propelling her wheelchair. She could barely raise her affected right arm to shoulder level or grasp objects; she was frustrated that she could not write her name or use a fork properly. She experienced episodes of eyestrain, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue, particularly at the end of days when her family and friends visited. Winnie currently struggles to accept her condition and is concerned she might not recover in time for the May Babies annual birthday celebration, which is seven weeks away. The occupational therapist interviewed Winnie on admission and identified that leisure and social activities were particularly important. The occupational therapist and OTA decided Jodi (the OTA) would conduct a more extensive interview. Because Jodi had demonstrated competency with in-depth interviews, they considered this an efficient use of time. Using client-centered questions as a guide (Table 19-1), Jodi obtained more detail about the meaning of leisure and social activities in Winnie s life. Throughout their conversation, Winnie conveyed that leisure and social activities are an integral aspect of who she is, not just something she does for the sake of keeping busy. She related the importance of maintaining her long-time friendships with the May Babies and teared up while talking about their annual birthday celebration, a few months away. She mentioned that when she plays board games with her children and grandchildren the time seems to fly, and before they know it, her grandchildren s bedtime has passed. She commented on the raucous laughter that permeates the house during every family board game. Winnie shared that her daughter-in-law is involved in making quilts for families of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and is disappointed she can t help because of her stroke. Maintaining her physical fitness is also important swimming being her top priority. Most of all, she is happy when she spends any time with her family, commenting she considers this time a blessing rather than a responsibility. As the conversation with Winnie progressed, Jodi realized she was gathering the information she needed, decided against incorporating an interest checklist, and continued the conversation. When discussing her valued activities, Winnie repeatedly commented, I don t see how I m ever going to do them again. Jodi recognized the extent to which Winnie valued leisure and social activities and gently presented the possibility Winnie would again be able to engage in leisure and social pursuits. Jodi explained they could explore ways she could still be involved in valued leisure and social activities with her family and friends, perhaps engaging in old ones and also considering new ones. By being thoughtful and considerate of Winnie s perspective and gently advocating for Winnie to consider leisure and social activities at this stage of her recovery from stroke, Jodi set the stage for Winnie to begin reclaiming her well-being and quality of life. They were now ready to plan and begin intervention. Intervention The intervention process for leisure and social participation is the same as for other areas of occupation that is, an intervention plan is developed (including the establishment of goals), implemented, monitored, and reviewed. 1 Intervention should occur in collaboration with the client and should be tailored to each client, focusing on promoting, restoring, maintaining, and/or modifying a client s current and future participation in leisure and social activities, and/or preventing a loss of participation. Strategies to enhance a client s wellbeing, life satisfaction, and quality of life should not focus exclusively on engaging clients in just any leisure or social activities. Doing something just to fill time does not yield the same satisfaction as engaging in activities that provide an opportunity to experience competence and self-worth. 20 Thus how leisure and social activities are incorporated into the therapy process should be unique to each client. Because activities are both the means and end of OT, leisure and social activities can be the process by which a client regains performance skills. Through engagement in leisure activities, a client could develop greater motor, process, and communication/interaction skills to support his or her participation in daily life activities. 1 For example, by engaging in a favored woodworking project, a client could develop greater skill in grasping, manipulating, and using tools and materials necessities for many daily activities. However, this approach does not account explicitly for the inherent benefits of leisure and social activities. The greater good of leisure and social participation lies in the qualities it contributes to a client s quality of life, well-being, and life satisfaction rather than the performance skills he or she may be learning. For example, after a lower limb amputation, a young woman s achievement of going to the movies for the first time with her friends, thoroughly enjoying the time, and feeling great about it afterward far outweighs whether she can effectively and independently negotiate curbs and steps during a community outing. A client s sense of satisfaction, enjoyment, competence, camaraderie, and other qualities associated with leisure and social activities should be valued equally to the achievement of specific performance skills. OT practitioners have raised concerns regarding payment, sometimes believing insurance will not reimburse for leisure or social activities. 8,41 Although each insurance plan is different, Medicare will reimburse for services when leisure or social activities are included. 10 As long as reimbursement Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:55 PM

9 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation 365 criteria are complied with and documented accordingly, leisure and social activities may be incorporated into and become the focus of OT, particularly as a means to achieve greater independent functioning. Additionally, specific goals that focus on leisure or social activities may be included with others that focus on enhanced performance of ADL and IADL tasks. 19 In doing so, OT practitioners communicate the contribution of all activities to a person s functioning and his or her well-being, life-satisfaction, quality of life, and health. Familiarity with a variety of leisure and social activities and knowledge of how to adapt activities to improve a client s performance provide the OTA with the skills to promote a client s engagement in those activities. The OTA can facilitate a client s more independent participation by helping him or her learn to engage in previous activities in new adapted manners and/or explore new activity interests. Additionally, the OTA can create a therapeutic context that capitalizes on the inherent joy and satisfaction of leisure and social activities. Intervention Guidelines An inability to resume a leisure or social activity is seldom attributable solely to physical factors. 33 Less obvious and more complex reasons usually are involved. OT practitioners will need to consider all elements that support and hinder a client s engagement (i.e., the client s performance skills, performance patterns, activity demands, client factors, and context). 1 The following guidelines are based on research and reflect those issues particularly relevant to leisure and social activities for people with disabilities and older adults. To fully address clients leisure and social concerns, OTAs will also need to draw upon the additional knowledge and skills they possess. Consider Client s Previous Level of Engagement If a client engaged in many leisure and social activities before the onset of a health condition, a wider range of options for intervention is possible. People who have a wide range of interests are more likely to continue engaging in a previous leisure activity than those with a narrow range. 24 This situation was certainly the case for Winnie. With her wide range of leisure and social interests, the OTA can draw from more choices and thus is more likely to achieve engagement in some activities, although perhaps in an adapted manner. Clients who previously participated in a limited range of leisure and social activities and who cannot perform or are not interested in previous activities are likely to need to develop new interests. 24 In these situations, the OTA may gently propose new leisure and social options that are within the person s capability (see Case Study: Edwin). If leisure and/or social activities are not a top priority in the client s life, the OTA should not press a client to accept that such activities will be good for him or her. For example, if a client experiences a condition that prevents him or her from returning to work, the client is less likely to want to substitute leisure and social pursuits for previous productive activities. 33 In these situations, the OTA should acknowledge and work with the client s desire for productive not leisure or social activities. However, the OTA may want to share that engaging in leisure and social activities after a disability significantly contributes to life satisfaction, quality of life, and well-being. The choice to pursue leisure and social activities, however, is always the client s. Edwin* Edwin, 54 years old, is in inpatient rehabilitation after falling from his roof and sustaining a back injury and minor brain injury. Before his accident, according to his wife, he spent all his spare time restoring old cars with his two brothers and playing golf. This information presented a dilemma for the OTA. She recognized that Edwin would not be able to return to these activities any time soon, yet. she was unaware of any other leisure or social pursuits Edwin previously enjoyed. During one session learning bathroom transfers, the OTA asked Edwin whether there was anything that he ever dreamed of doing. Edwin recalled he once thought about becoming a pastry chef but did not think it a particularly masculine career. The OTA suggested he might want to explore this idea and bake something for his wife. Edwin agreed, and the OTA recommended he choose a recipe from among the easy ones in the department recipe file. During their next kitchen session that focused on safe mobility, Edwin made a banana crème pie for his wife. Edwin was pleased with how it turned out, despite dropping some of the filling on the floor. Edwin recognized that it was possible to replace his former interests with ones that were within his current capacity and that he enjoyed. Consider Client s Personal Standards of Performance The quality of performance considered acceptable by a client may determine whether he or she wants to pursue a leisure or social activity. Some clients are willing to resume activities at a lesser level of competence; others are not interested if they cannot perform to their previous standard, 24 particularly if they considered themselves proficient (see Case Study: Jean). Jean* Jean, 68 years old, loved to play word games and took great pride in her skill. She was diagnosed with early-onset dementia and began attending an adult day program in which the OTA, learning from her family that Jean liked games, tried to involve her in simple word games. Jean refused. Only after carefully observing Jean s reluctance did the OTA realize Jean refused because she recognized she could not play to her previous skill level. Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:56 PM

10 366 PART V Performance e in Areas of Occupation Catherine* Catherine, 82 years old, is receiving outpatient OT to learn more about joint protection techniques after a severe exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis. She identified her favorite activity, which she feels free to do in her own way, as making her special chocolate chip cookies. She takes great joy in adding various surprise ingredients, such as dried cranberries or crushed mints, and looks forward to her great-granddaughter s reaction when she babysits her each weekend. The OTA suggested that instead of making cookies from scratch, Catherine could save energy by using prepackaged dough and preserve her joints by cutting the tube of dough with a rocker knife. Catherine immediately rejected the idea because it was not the way she makes cookies. The OTA needed to shift focus and collaborate with Catherine on ways to save energy and protect her joints while still engaging in valued activities in an acceptable manner. Encouraging a client to engage in previously enjoyed activities may have the undesired effect of making the client feel less than adequate. 33 In these situations, the OTA may prefer to introduce new activities for which the client not having a previous standard is less likely to judge his or her performance negatively. Other clients choose not to engage in an activity because they cannot do it the way they did it before their new health condition (see Case Study: Catherine). In other cases, clients might not want to engage in activities for fear of family members (and others ) disapproval (or Marie* Marie, 32 years old, was scheduled for an overnight home visit during her final week of rehabilitation after the onset of Guillain- Barré syndrome. Marie s husband wanted to surprise her with reservations at her favorite restaurant and consulted with the OTA. During their conversation, the OTA shared that Marie had mentioned several times she thought other people were embarrassed when she spilled food and drinks. The OTA carefully suggested that her husband consider a quiet dinner alone at home because some people are uncomfortable going out in public the first time; he agreed. She also suggested to Marie that she might consider discussing her feelings with her husband. On Monday, Marie reported she and her husband had enjoyed two nice dinners at home and had talked a lot over the weekend. She said she was relieved the OTA had addressed the issue of her embarrassment with handling food and utensils with both her husband and her. the perception of disapproval) of less than perfect performance 24 (see Case Study: Marie). If a client is frustrated with his or her diminished ability to engage in a specific leisure or social activity, he or she is less likely to consider using adaptive equipment. 41 OTAs must respect client choices and rejection of activities, particularly if the client is frustrated. Collaboration with the client can identify other leisure and social activities in which he or she might feel more comfortable and competent. Emphasize Choice and Control During Activities When activities are chosen for them and they do not feel in control, clients are less likely to want to participate. 33 Results from the Well Elderly Program 11,23 indicate that life satisfaction, well-being, and quality of life are enhanced when older adults choose what they would like to do and when opportunities that are challenging yet within their capabilities are provided (see Case Study: Community Residence). Community Residence An OTA working at a community residence for persons with HIV disease is responsible for facilitating weekly activities with residents. During one session, the residents said they wanted a barbecue at the end of the month. The OTA helped them develop a plan and decide who would do what. The day of the barbecue, the OTA arrived a few hours early to help with preparations and was pleasantly surprised. Several residents had taken it upon themselves to ask neighbors for donations of flowers and plants and had decorated the residence. Other residents had already prepared their dishes and were helping others to make theirs. Two residents were busy rehearsing a funny poem they wrote for the invited volunteer staff, a spur-of-the-moment decision on their part. Through facilitating self-choice and promoting self-control, the OTA contributed to increased enjoyment and satisfaction in the residents daily lives. Consider Attitudes of Family Members and Friends Support from family and friends is an important environmental factor with leisure and social activities. 24 Family members positive attitudes and beliefs particularly those of spouses and partners can encourage and support a client to resume prior activities or begin new pursuits. The OTA should also be aware if family members provide only minimal encouragement or even actively discourage leisure and social endeavors. 24 The OTA could share with a client s family and friends that their support and encouragement are particularly important in regard to engagement in leisure and social activity. As will be seen, this encouragement was a key factor during Winnie s OT. When family and friends support the use of adaptive equipment, the client is more likely to accept and use it successfully. 41 The OTA should involve the client and appropriate family Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:57 PM

11 CHAPTER 19 Promoting Engagement in Leisure and Social Participation 367 Velda* Velda is 69 years old. She had polio when she was 3 years old and now lives in an assisted living complex. The OTA is responsible for fostering the residents participation in valued leisure and social activities. Once every 2 months, the OTA introduces a new handicraft for residents to try. Velda s gaggle of friends (as Velda refers to them) look forward to this activity, but Velda often says if it involves a new-fangled device, I just won t learn it. One month, the OTA introduced rake-knitting and suggested to Velda s friends that they playfully tease Velda into trying this new-fangled device. It worked; Velda liked it and purchased the required wooden frame so that she could make scarves whenever she wanted (Figure 19-5). members and friends actively while identifying options for adaptive equipment and skills training (see Case Study: Velda). Suggest Activities that Appeal to a Client s Altruistic Nature Because participating in activities deemed valuable yields greater satisfaction 20 and because older adults particularly want to engage in responsible roles and feel depended upon, 18 the OTA should explore options for leisure and social activities that appeal to a client s altruistic nature. Evidence suggests that when older adults are invited to participate in activities of a more altruistic nature, such as decorating Valentine cookies for preschool children rather than just decorating Valentine cookies, they are more motivated and likely to participate. 18 When clients are reluctant to consider leisure activities during therapy because they believe it is not real work or frivolous, they are more likely to agree and participate if the activity is presented as something that would benefit someone else. Most importantly, such a reason for activity helps a client believe he or she is worthwhile and doing something of value. As will be seen, this motivation was another key factor during Winnie s OT. Identify Barriers to Transportation and Accessibility in the Community One of the biggest barriers to engaging in leisure and social pursuits is difficulty with transportation and accessibility in the community. In one research study, of 20 people with stroke living in the community for 1-3 years, only six reported engaging in leisure pursuits outside their homes. 50 OTAs should be familiar with community resources, including feasible means of transportation that might support a client s engagement in activities outside the home. They can then educate clients and families how best to access and use suitable community resources (see Case Study: Jason). Jason* Prior to his T-8 spinal cord injury, Jason, who is 33 years old, enjoyed a wide variety of social and leisure activities in the community. He played music with friends once a week, coached his daughter s soccer team, and typically ended the workweek with a date with his partner. The OTA who worked with him at the outpatient clinic knew of community resources and was familiar with the accessibility challenges people using wheelchairs face. She supported Jason s desire to get out of the house and explored with him community options that would be interesting, practical, and accessible. Jason could participate in his community and was no longer a captive in his home. Figure 19-5 Support of family and friends is important when learning different ways to engage in leisure activities. Focus on Social Participation as Well as Leisure When identifying activities, the OTA should consider options beyond typical leisure pursuits, such as arts, crafts, and hobbies. One motivation for activities may be social interactions with persons other than family. Older adults report that relationships with others are important; one of their strategies to establish social relationships is attendance at more formal gatherings 12 such as civic groups or volunteer organizations. Early-19.indd /5/05 7:51:58 PM

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