Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Catherine Pierce

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


The aim of this study was to make changes to how occupational therapists in a transitional care unit setting provide education about Cognitive Performance Test (CPT) scores to caregivers of those patients with dementia or suspected dementia. Caregiver education for this population is important, as the incidence of persons living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias is expected to grow dramatically in the coming two decades. This study used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach to gather input from occupational therapists and caregivers of patients evaluated with the CPT. Interviews of caregivers indicated that they were unhappy with the education they received from therapists. Caregivers wanted a more collaborative relationship with therapists, and were sensitive to the experience of their loved one in occupational therapy in general, as well as to the approach to the education and the tone and language used to convey information about CPT scores. Therapists, with the caregiver input, worked together to develop education that reflected the needs of the caregivers, creating a new process, new tools and more opportunities for therapist- caregiver interactions. Interviews with a second group of caregivers who experienced the new education process revealed that they had a different, more positive experience overall with the new caregiver education process. This finding suggests that PAR as a methodology is well suited to facilitate changes to support development of client centered occupational therapy practice.


Occupational Therapy


Psychology, Health and environmental sciences, Caregiver, Client-centered, Dementia, Education, Participatory, Qualitative

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