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In recent years, the number of inpatient cardiovascular surgeries has significantly increased in hospitals around America. Occupational therapists in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center (Burlingame, California) currently lack a standard protocol for addressing physical, cognitive, and psychosocial factors in patients post cardiac surgery. Furthermore, interventions are frequently guided by professional experience and clinical reasoning instead of current evidence. The American Occupational Therapy Association’s Centennial Vision encourages occupational therapists to pursue science-driven practices and provide evidence-based interventions. In response to this vision, an extensive review of current literature was conducted and applied to develop an evidence-based clinical pathway for the occupational therapists at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. The proposed clinical pathway includes intervention guidelines for physical recovery, early detection of cognitive impairment, and psychosocial health for patients post cardiac surgery recovering in the ICU. The clinical pathway would establish a standard of care and facilitate patients’ return to their highest level of function during post-cardiac surgery rehabilitation.


Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L, CSRS

Publication Date

Fall 2017


San Rafael, CA


Occupational therapy, post cardiac surgery, clinical pathway, evidence based practice, intensive care unit, rehabilitation, cognition, psychosocial


Occupational Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy

Occupational Therapy in the Intensive Care Unit