Woman therapist is sitting on a couch with an old lady and is taking notes

Learn about the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance

Angelina Chatzaki

If you don't know what this occupational therapy model is, then you can learn the basics here.

Learn about the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance

The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (CMOP) emerged in 1983 from a joint working group of the Canadian Occupational Therapy Association and the Canadian Institute of National Health and Welfare.

It is an attempt to create clear guidelines for practice and to include things that could be used to set standards and promote quality assurance.

The main concern was to develop an outcome - measurement tool for occupational therapy.

The Model is mainly based on Reed and Sanderson's conceptual foundations for Practice and their view of occupational performance (balance between work, leisure and self-sufficiency). It follows a strictly client-centered approach.

The Model describes the importance of the performance components (physical, mental, socio-cultural, spiritual) and the environment, which is divided into physical, social and cultural environment, emphasising the connection between meaningful activity and health.

What are the model's view of the origin of problems:

In general, problems arise from an imbalance between mental, physical, spiritual and social aspects of the person concerned, resulting in performance - difficulties or deficits. However, this model focuses less on the origin of the problems of dysfunction and more on processes that lead to healing.

The Model is process-driven. The choice of approach results from the assessment, i.e. treatment planning must be built on the assessment of needs and involves the client in its creation and completion (priorities and desired goals should be set by the client).

Basic elements of the Model are spirituality, motivation, the therapeutic relationship, the teaching/learning process, the ethics and the evaluation.

A special measuring instrument was developed for the model - the COPM (Canadian Occupational Performance Measure). The COPM is a criterion-measuring instrument based on the client's self-assessment of their problems and priorities.

The collection and calculation of the values is done in five steps:

  1. Problem definition: The client reports on the three areas of self-care, productivity and leisure and indicates where he/she has problems; he/she ranks the current importance for him/her on a scale from 1 to 10. The 5 most important to the client are selected, the others are put aside for later treatment.

  2. Problem assessment: The client is asked to rate their current performance, again on a scale of 1 to 10, and then their satisfaction with the performance. The client's perception is considered valid without any objective test being done at this stage.

  3. Calculate values: A simple calculation allows the therapist to determine the values for each activity as a starting point for the intervention.

  4. Re-assessment: This survey provides an outcome measurement tool that captures the improvement in performance and satisfaction from the client's perspective once the intervention has ended.

  5. Final assessment: Client or caregiver is asked if there are any remaining problems; if so, the assessment and intervention are conducted again.

The conceptual foundations of the model can be summarised into a number of understandings that are significant for occupational therapy:

  • The individual client is an essential part of occupational therapy practice.
  • The client should be treated holistically.
  • Activity analysis and adaptation can be used to bring about changes in a client's performance (therapeutic use of activities).
  • The developmental stage of the individual client is an important aspect of therapy.
  • The client's role expectations must be included.

From the Synopsis Team

Angelina Chatzaki, Occupational Therapist