Information and Communications Technology-Based Telehealth Approach for Occupational Therapy Interventions for Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review

Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Sep 23;8(4):355. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8040355.


(1) Background: Occupational therapy (OT) practice has a unique perspective that addresses the complex needs of cancer survivors. Despite the expanded research and application of OT services using telehealth (TH) to promote clients' health and well-being, studies on OT services using TH for cancer survivors are rare. This study aimed to review the TH approaches in the scope of OT and the outcome of factors affecting occupational engagement in adult cancer survivors. (2) Materials and Methods: This systematic review performed a literature search of five databases (Medline Complete, PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science) using a combination of keywords and cross-referencing. Studies were included if they described a TH intervention within the scope of OT practice to improve occupational engagement. (3) Results: Fifteen studies (12 randomized controlled trials, three quasiexperimental studies) were reviewed. Physical activity had a positive effect on physical and cognitive function. Symptom self-management showed positive effects on the relief of symptom burden. Psychosocial interventions, which included cognitive behavioral therapy, problem-solving, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, mind-body training, reduced sleep disturbance, and improved physical activity. Lifestyle behavior change interventions improved participation in moderate-intensity physical activity and diet quality. In addition, these interventions reduced cancer-related symptoms such as pain, depression, fatigue, distress, and improved quality of life. There were no direct outcomes of occupational engagement, excluding sleep, that could be confirmed through this review. (4) Conclusion: This review explored and confirmed the usefulness of TH approaches in the scope of OT practice in adult cancer survivors. It also supports the notion that OT-specific research using TH interventions for cancer survivors will be needed in the future.

Keywords: cancer survivor; occupational therapy; systematic review; telehealth.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding