AJOT CE: A Framework for Addressing Clients’ Functional Cognitive Deficits After COVID-19
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Publisher: AOTA Continuing Education

Published: 2021

Ce Ajot Articles
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Non-Member Price: $24.99

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Kelsey Watters, MS, OTR/L, BCPR, is Clinical Practice Leader for Occupational Therapy and Functional Cognition and Vision Therapist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, IL; kwatters@sralab.org


Timothy S. Marks, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, UW Health, University Hospital, Madison, WI, and Doctoral Student in Kinesiology, Department of Kinesiology–Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Dorothy F. Edwards, PhD, is Professor, Departments of Kinesiology–Occupational Therapy and Medicine, and Associate Dean of Research, School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Elizabeth R. Skidmore, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, FACRM, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, and Associate Dean of Research, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.


Gordon Muir Giles, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA, and Director of Neurobehavioral Services, Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., Sacramento, CA.


Credit: .1 AOTA CEU (1.25 NBCOT PDU/1 contact hour)




1. Describe the short and long-term effects individuals with Covid-19 may experience that can impact occupational performance


2. Identify various assessments that OT practitioners can use with clients who have cognitive challenges resulting from Covid-19


 3. Discuss various intervention approaches and strategies that OT practitioners can utilize with clients who have cognitive challenges resulting from Covid-19


Occupational therapy’s focus on functional cognition offers a distinct approach to the assessment of and intervention for occupational performance deficits that may follow coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although the majority of people survive COVID-19, many people experience persistent functional cognitive sequelae severe enough to interfere with occupational performance. After COVID-19, people may be categorized as either (1) those who experience severe or critical illness requiring hospitalization or (2) those with mild to moderate presentations of the virus without hospitalization. A third group of those who do not have ongoing signs of active infection but who experience new, lasting, or deteriorating symptoms has begun to emerge and may represent a distinct COVID-19 long-haul syndrome. By following the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework and using established processes for occupational therapy assessment and treatment of functional cognition, occupational therapy practitioners can tailor assessments and interventions to meet clients’ needs.


Since the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020, medical professionals have developed interventions to address the clinical presentations of COVID-19, which vary in severity from asymptomatic infection to critical illness or death (Taquet et al., 2021). Much of the early focus has been, by necessity, dedicated to managing the acute stages of the infection, and less is known about the long-term consequences for those recovering from COVID-19. Although the impact of COVID-19 on people’s health status remains under investigation (Tenforde et al., 2020; Zhou et al., 2020), occupational therapists can lead the efforts to address occupational performance and impairments in functional cognition that may follow COVID-19. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (4th ed. [OTPF–4]; American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2020) provides guidance for practitioners on how to screen and assess clients and how to design effective interventions to manage changes in functional cognition and occupational performance after COVID-19 (Skidmore, 2017; Wolf et al., 2019). Our discipline has the tools and must now implement them with confidence.