Date of Award

Winter 12-19-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott

Second Advisor

Becki Cohill

Third Advisor

Erin Schwier

Medical Subject Headings

Dementia, Equine-Assisted Therapy, Affect, Memory, Socialization, Quality of Life, Occupational Therapy, Geriatrics, Program Development


Individuals living with dementia typically experience progressive, cognitive, and functional decline which limits their ability to communicate and fully perform activities (Pimouguet el al., 2019). Horses have been shown to benefit individuals with dementia by improving well-being, physical health, functional capacity, and social relationships (Fields et. al., 2019).

A 6-week OT-based virtual equine-assisted activities program was conducted to determine if participation in equine-assisted activities could improve the quality of life of individuals with dementia. Outcomes of the program resulted in improvements in mood, energy level, engagement, communication, memory, socialization, and overall quality of life.


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