Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2019

Academic Department

Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor(s)

Deborah Waltermire


An average of 15,000 individuals under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year (Siegel, Miller, & Jemal, 2018). The need for occupational therapy services to optimize quality of life persists in current practices (Baxter, Newman, Longpré, & Polo, 2017). Such practitioners may intervene to help remediate, compensate, or adapt pediatric patients’ abilities to assist them achieve maximum levels of independence. Children progressively learn to become more independent as they grow older in order to function in selfcare tasks, educational responsibilities, and other meaningful occupations; those with a cancer diagnosis may experience physical, social, and cognitive symptoms that could hinder such performances. Studies have found an underutilization of occupational therapy services within cancerrelated care (Baxter et al., 2017). This study sought to understand the occupational therapy process utilized in pediatric oncology. Results indicated a scarcity of occupational therapists and necessary standardized assessments provided in inpatient acute care hospitals. More resources can be found within the outpatient therapy setting for children seeking services after or in between treatment, however, challenges to obtaining this type of care prevail for families due to numerous stressors. Benefits of the study include increasing awareness of pediatric oncology and the role of occupational therapy in the highly specialized area of care.


Senior thesis.