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Using a theoretical framework, consider the health and wellbeing benefits of an occupation. How would this occupation need to be changed in order to enable participation across the lifespan?

To structure your answer to this question you should address the following:

Choose an appropriate occupation that a person would engage with across the lifespan.

Use theory to explore the health and wellbeing benefits of this occupation, (consider some of the philosophies that underpin occupational therapy practice)

Consider what core skills an occupational therapist might use to change this occupation (consider occupational performance analysis, grading and adaptation).

What is Occupational Therapy?

The occupational therapists assist the people in their lifetime to participate in different activities through therapeutically using everyday activities. The occupational therapy activities include comprehensive evaluation of the individual goals and the surrounding environment of the client. They provide recommendations to adapt or change the environment and use training to foster cognitive or physical changes. The practitioners of occupational therapy modify the external environment of the person as a part of the intervention plan (Atchison & Dirette, 2007). In this procedure, the practitioners plan to help children with disabilities to participate in social activities, assist people in recovering from injuries and assisting older patients in experiencing physical and cognitive changes. It is a customized intervention, which improves the client’s ability to perform daily activities and reach their personal and professional goal (Radomski & Latham, 2008). It also comprises of an evaluation plan, which ensures that the goals are met, and so that changes can be made to the intervention plan.

The occupational therapy practitioners usually take a holistic approach in which they adapt the environment so that it fit the therapy plan. There are several phases in the occupational therapy services; however, the main phases include an individualized evaluation in which complete evaluation of the client and their family is undertaken. It also comprises of customized intervention in which a person enhances his abilities to perform daily activities and reach their goals. It also contains an outcome evaluation, which ensures that the daily goals of a person are being met and changes are being made to the intervention plan (Edmans, 2011). While making an evaluation of the environment, the client makes a comprehensive evaluation of the workplace and the school. They make recommendations for the adaptive environment and implement training for the parents, family members and other caregivers.

 There are several uses and therapeutic efficiencies of cooking. It can incorporate different concepts related to kitchen skills, energy conservation, hygiene skills. The cooking as an occupation can assist in functional use of their hands, maintaining tolerance, participating in other vocational activities and increasing socialization with patients (Hill, O’Brien & Yurt, 2007).

Eating and drinking food is essential in staying alive. However, the people lacking cooking skills can join some vocational courses to learn about the skill. Occupational therapy can assist the people in learning this skill. In occupational therapy, occupation does not mean activities, which are partaken to obtain a living. Contrary, it comprises of all the activities, which form the part of daily lives (Mulligan, 2013). It includes all the activities in the daily lives, such as washing dishes, taking care of children or reading books.

Phases of Occupational Therapy Services

People may not possess cooking skills for numerous reasons; however, joining a cooking group can address the situation. Occupational therapy is focused on providing appropriate skills, which assist them in their daily routine. The cooking skills are important for the people with eating disorders; however, it can be taken by people with different requirements or skills.

Cooking as an occupation is quite effective as the involvement in food preparation, such as cooking or baking can increase pleasure. The food preparation skills such as cooking or baking are commonly used as an occupational therapy because of the numerous benefits. Baking can serve several purposes, which include skill development, which supports independent living, increase the leisure or the fun activity and increasing the opportunity for the social engagement of the people. Baking activity can be enjoyable for people with different level of skills. It can be simple or complex and people with different level of skills can contribute to it. It is a versatile skill and; therefore, people with different level of skills can contribute to it (Cara, & MacRae, 2005). The participation in cooking or baking can provide purpose or meaning to the clients. It is a real-time way of filling time, which can provide motivation to the clients. It is a method to occupy the time in a meaningful manner. Baking can assist the customer’s in organizing their time, engaging in activities, which induce pleasure and extend control over other activities.

Cooking can also enhance concentration, increase coordination, and build self-esteem. All these factors can contribute to the uplifting of the self-esteem. It is important for the clients with learning disabilities. Baking can offer therapeutic treatment so that it can improve functioning.

Cooking is commonly used as an intervention technique for the people with mental health issues. It can serve as means to build confidence, acquire new skills, coping different challenges and increasing the self-esteem of the clients (Haley & McKay, 2004).

In disordered eating pattern, an activity is frequently performed as an addiction. It leads to maladaptive occupational patterns. There are several health and wellbeing issues related to cooking. Cooking as an occupational therapy is necessary for the people with maladaptive occupational patterns. A maladaptive activity or activity addiction refers to an activity, which may cause serious or negative impact on the health and wellbeing of a person. The addictive behavioral patterns can prohibit the client from engaging in other activities (Paul & Peterson, 2002). Therefore, it is important to create a therapy plan, which can establish occupational balance in the life of the people.

Therapeutic Benefits of Cooking

Eating and drinking are restorative activities in which humans can regain activities from ingesting different kinds of food and drinks. Eating and drinking can be beneficial for the clients as they can regain energy by having food and drink and they can undertake various other occupations. It is necessary to address these issues during the recovery phase so that the client can be put back to a healthy perspective. The cooking and eating activities are a part of the daily routine of the client; however, participation in three regular mealtimes can provide a vital structure and meaning to the routine life of the people. Menu planning and meal cooking can increase the cognitive ability of the patients (Elizabeth Hodge, 2017).

The efficacy of the therapy is dependent upon the fact that the focus of attention should be on the service user, and the therapists should find similarities and differences in the current area and the later area of practice. The fundamental of occupational therapy states that occupation should promote health and motivation in the human life. The human life should be continuously motivated to ensure continuous survival. Cooking or preparing a cup of tea does not hold that much importance as performing a heart surgery due to the complexity of the task and professional skills required. The routine’s assessment and treatment involves the observing people in their food preparation, as they cook and eat and clear up afterwards. Involving and actively participating in these activities is important for the continued health and survival of the people. It is important for the physiological needs of the humans (Punwar & Peloquin, 2000). It is critical in understanding why people need to spend time in kitchen. It is difficult to spend time in everyday activities; however, the theorists emphasize the importance of environment in enabling the occupation. In cooking, kitchen becomes occupational space in which the several different skills are required to undertake activities related to cooking. The kitchen assessment includes all the activities that a person participated to promote health and wellbeing of the person.

It can be critiqued that every person, therapist or the service user himself determine the purpose of the occupation as every activity is voluntary which is controlled by the intrinsic motivation to govern the choice. The kitchen may not be an attractive space for people living with an eating disorder or for the people trying to lose their weight. The recognition in the occupational therapy states that each occupation should hold a different meaning for different individual.

Customized Intervention and Goal Achievement

However, there are certain pressures on resources, which prevent the occupational therapists in engaging in more activities than the self-care. In practice, there are certain constraints, which prevent in undertaking all the assessments. In case of adaptation, a detailed examination of the kitchen as an occupational space is required. The changes should ensure that it is benefitting the people who are using kitchen on a regular basis (Finlay, 2004). An ill-performed adaptation can increase the problems, increase burden on the care providers and can enhance the performance of the individuals in the long-term.

In the kitchen adaptation, there should be careful balancing of the needs of different household members. It is also important in evaluating the impact of change on different family members, as they do not deprive of kitchen as an occupation space. The evaluation of the space before making changes is not necessary to assure that kitchen does not deprive as an occupational space (Hemphill-Pearson, 2008). It is difficult to communicate the significance of details and different dimensions of a person’s life.

While creating an occupational space, a person should make changes in the domestic environment of a person. However, there are certain pressures such as the long waiting lists, which have made the occupational therapists social services to focus on personal independence and self-care. The Canadian Model of Occupation Performance (CMOP) can be used to structure the analysis of space. In this model, the central is the person who has certain attributes related to physical, cognitive, affective functions. Spirituality is at the core of these functions. In the process of planning the kitchen, several other factors such as physical pain and limitation in movement should be considered. Kitchen is a space of emotional contact and support for the community. Potential adaptation can be evaluated with the help of physical ease of access, which is the primary reason of adaptation (Meyers, 2010). There are four different aspects of the environment, namely, physical, institutional, cultural, and social. In the physical adaptation, the physical space is modified for the convenience. In institutional changes, the whole process of the adaptation is modified with the statuary provision and the grants provided by the government. In the cultural dimension, the role of contemporary issues such as healthy diets and food safety is important. The culture is an important criterion for the healthy diet and safety of foods. The social dimension can be used to address the needs of other people and residents in the house.

Importance of Cooking for Individuals with Learning Disabilities

The occupation is situated in the space between person and environment. The occupation comprises of self-care, productivity, and leisure activities. As per the model, the occupation should be defined as per the purpose, which results in psychological survival of the employees. The food is important for the psychological survival; therefore, the consumption pattern of food is investigated by occupational therapists (Bryant, Fieldhouse & Bannigan, 2014).

The Nelson’s model states that an individual engaged in certain occupations has a certain sense of purpose. There are certain external changes in environment or occupational form, which can influence and provide meaning to different individuals.

The occupational therapy evaluates the performance of certain activities; understand different occupational forms, and the behavior of another person. This synthesis assists the occupational therapists to create an optimal situation, which establish changes in the right manner. It is related to the concept of flow of events and creates profound changes in the lives of the people by engaging them in the right challenges.

Nelson’s model divides the human occupation in different parts, which has the same limitations as in the other models. However, this model place equal emphasis on the relations between different components. Therefore, this model is appropriate in certain clinical situations as well as it is applicable to complex clinical situations but also it can enhance the understanding of the complex situations (Brown & Stoffel, 2010).

A patient with chronic problems or physical pain might require evaluating the needs and recommending adaptations for better efficiency. The occupational therapy is required for fine-tuning the needs and recommending the adaptations as per the patient. The service user should be able to evaluate the needs and recommend adaptations to the clients. Fine-tuning is important and essential in service user contact. There are several aspects of the evaluation such as person, purpose, and impact on occupational performance.

The environment has a significant impact on the manner in which the occupation is performed. The therapists can identify the context of the manner in which cooking operation is performed. Several factors such as restricted access and limited use of space can create a physical barrier to cooking practice. It will also affect the purpose and the meaning that cooking will bring to that individual. It will also further influence the motivation and the enjoyment that cooking bring into their lives. The current scenario fits better with the social model of disability as the therapists consider the person is not always required to change but the surrounding environment as it prevents the practice. The occupational therapists are always guided by the standards given by government agencies to modify the environment (Creek & Lougher, 2011). The surrounding environment should be adapted to increase the independence of the client, reduce the impact of environment on the activities, and reduce the risk to the customers or their caretakers. The therapists can establish such an environment by analyzing the tasks and its performance requirements. There are also several contextual considerations of the environment, which are needed to be modified to perform the task. Then after, the therapists understand the reasons, which prohibit the clients from performing the task. It can include both functional limitations as well as contextual environment. In the analysis, several factors are considered such as the accessibility in the kitchen and changes, which could be made to increase the accessibility of the customer. Another factor is the consideration that whether there is space for the visitors and wheelchairs. The height of surface, accessibility to different utensils, whether the kitchen is just for the personal use or it is to be shared, are there any equipment, potential hazards which can cause harm, risk of trips and falls, the lighting system in the room and the need to adapt it for the visually impaired people. In consideration to kitchen, the heat sensitivity should be considered. The therapists should also minimize the possibility to reduce the risk of working with the hot objects in the kitchen.

Cooking as an Intervention for Individuals with Mental Health Issues

While modifying the cooking space or the kitchen, the therapists has to determine the individual client needs along with considering the needs and requirements of other members of household in the kitchen. The therapist would also need to take into the consideration the cost associated with the modification and how the financial sourcing of thee modification.

The occupation therapist improves the self-esteem of the people by increasing their self-dependency. The therapist should make provision so that the clients can live safely at their home and manage the activities of the daily living. It is a rehabilitation approach, which would lead the therapist to use cooking as an occupation, which can restore the ability of the client to cook and establish a valuable role as a mother or partner. The customers with progressive condition or with the likelihood of better condition for future can benefit a lot with supporting equipment. It ensures that the equipment is available if there are any future changes in ability. The occupational therapist has to make certain assessment before offering equipment to support cooking. The occupational therapist ensures that they assess the abilities of the client and the current support that they have in their operations. It is also important to consider and plan for the future abilities of the clients. The therapist needs to check if the client is safe and able to use new equipment. They can also take help of other healthcare professionals and plan the future needs of the healthcare professionals (Cara & MacRae, 2005). It is also important to arrange for the funding, inspecting the risk of the equipment and ensuring that the client or the health care professionals and trained to use the equipment in future.

The occupational therapists consider the manner through which they can improve the movements of the client, and how they can use long handled cooking utensils. They are also required to compensate the weaknesses and increasing endurance of the equipment by designing it to be more lightweight. The utensils should be designed so that customers have a strong hold over the equipment.


Conclusively, it can be stated that occupational therapy is a significant profession, which benefits the human lives. In the occupation therapy, the word “occupation” signifies any activity, which is a part of the daily lives of people. Cooking is an important occupation, which can build the self-confidence of the people. With appropriate strategies, the customers can fulfill their role as the food provider or nurturer. It also increases their ability to be more self-dependent. It makes them self-dependent and more reliable. There are several strategies such as modifying the structure of kitchen as well as providing equipment, which can benefit the customers.


Atchison, B., & Dirette, D.K. (2007). Conditions in Occupational Therapy: Effect on Occupational Performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Brown, C., & Stoffel, V.C. (2010). Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Vistion for Participation. F.A. Davis.

Bryant, W., & McKay, E. (2005). What’s Cooking? Theory and Practice in the Kitchen. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(2), pp. 67-74.

Bryant, W., Fieldhouse, J., & Bannigan, K. (2014). Creek's Occupational Therapy and Mental Health E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Cara, E., & MacRae, A. (2005). Psychosocial Occupational Therapy: A Clinical Practice. Cengage Learning.

Cara, E., & MacRae, A. (2005). Psychosocial Occupational Therapy: A Clinical Practice. Cengage Learning.

Creek, J., & Lougher, L. (2011). Occupational Therapy and Mental Health. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Edmans, J. (2011). Occupational Theralatest harvard referencing stylepy and Stroke. John Wiley & Sons.

Elizabeth Hodge. (2017). Cooking group. Retrieved 8 January 2018 from 

Finlay, L. (2004). The Practice of Psychosocial Occupational Therapy. Nelson Thornes.

Haley, l., & Mckay, A. (2004). ‘Baking Gives You Confidence’: Users’ Views of Engaging in the Occupation of Baking. Retrieved 8 January 2018 from 

Hemphill-Pearson, B.J. (2008). Assessments in Occupational Therapy Mental Health: An Integrative Approach. SLACK Incorporated.

Hill, K.H., O’Brien, K.A., & Yurt, R.W. (2007). Therapeutic efficacy of a therapeutic cooking group from the patients' perspective. Journal Burn Care Res. 28(2), 324-327.

Meyers, S. (2010). Community Practice in Occupational Therapy: A Guide to Serving the Community. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Mulligan, S.E. (2013). Occupational Therapy Evaluation for Children: A Pocket Guide. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Paul, S., & Peterson, C.Q. (2002). Interprofessional Collaboration in Occupational Therapy. Psychology Press.

Punwar, A.J., & Peloquin, S.M. (2000). Occupational Therapy: Principles and Practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Radomski, M.V., & Latham, C.A. T. (2008). Occupational Therapy for Physical Dysfunction. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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