Strengthening problem-solving skills through occupational therapy to improve older adults' occupational performance - A systematic review

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Background. Evidence supports the role of occupational therapy (OT) for older adults, and therapeutic use of problem solving may provide a way to improve older adult’s occupational performance.
Aim. To assess the effectiveness and describe the contents of OT interventions aimed at improving older adults’ occupational performance by strengthening their problem-solving skills.
Material and Methods. This systematic review followed the phases recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration. The following databases were searched for clinical trials on OT for populations 65+ years: CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO. The Cochrane risk-of-bias tool (RoB-2) and the GRADE approach were used to assess the quality of the evidence. Results were presented in tables and by narrative syntheses.
Results. Five studies were included comprising a total of 685 participants. In four studies, OT with a problem-solving approach outperformed control conditions post intervention. The interventions involved problem identification, analysis, strategy development and implementation. Although no serious risk of bias was detected in the individual studies, the quality of evidence was deemed low due to inconsistent and imprecise results.
Conclusions. Low-quality evidence suggests that strengthening older adults’ problem-solving skills may improve their occupational performance.
Significance. Further investigation is required before firm practice recommendations can be prepared.
Translated title of the contributionStyrkelse af problemløsningsevnen gennem ergoterapi med henblik på at forbedre ældre menneskers aktivitetsudøvelse - Et systematisk review
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2022


  • health, nutrition and quality of life

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