Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L

Third Advisor

Erin Schwier, EdD, OTD, OTR/L

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Neurotology, Vestibular Diseases, Life Style, Vertigo, Ear, Inner, Adult, Vestibular Neuronitis, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, Labyrinthitis, Migraine Disorders


Individuals with vestibular disorders have concerns that impact lifestyle including limiting activities of daily living, limiting participation in social events, difficulty driving, and difficulty working (Cohen, 2014). Occupational therapists are able to help individuals with vestibular disorders by task analyzing symptom provoking activities, assessing the impact of symptoms on occupations, providing adaptations, and providing ways to modify environments (Gronski, Neville, Kannenberg, & Cohen, 2017). While occupational therapists are qualified to provide services to sustain and improve the occupational performance of individuals with vestibular disorders, occupational therapy is not well represented in this area particularly in addressing lifestyle components for vestibular disorders.

The purpose of this capstone project was identify common lifestyle factors that impact vestibular symptoms and can support management of symptoms, develop and propose a program that addresses and promotes lifestyle modification, assess opportunities and barriers for current occupational therapy role in vestibular settings, and advocate for occupational therapy role in prevention and management of lifestyle concerns for vestibular populations.

Individuals with vestibular disorders and practitioners working with these individuals were interviewed at RISE Physical Therapy and an otoneurology practice. Patient appointments were observed using field notes. Individuals from an online vestibular support group were also surveyed. Responses were recorded and analyzed for themes. The findings were used to develop and propose an occupation-based lifestyle modification program for individuals with vestibular disorders.

The findings from this capstone project support previous research on the impact vestibular disorders have on daily life and the need for an increased role for occupational therapy in providing lifestyle-based intervention for the population. Occupational therapy can provide a unique contribution to the interdisciplinary healthcare team working with individuals with vestibular disorders.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 2025