Jawad Aqil and Susan MacDermott
This capstone project, Enhancing Leisure Participation in an Inpatient Mental Health Setting, was completed by a Doctor of Occupational Therapy candidate at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Project objectives aimed to identify and address internal and external barriers related to leisure participation in inpatient mental health settings from an occupational therapy perspective. A literature review of leisure engagement demonstrates beneficial mental health outcomes in correlation with increased leisure engagement during inpatient mental health treatment. However, leisure is often an underutilized facet of mental health treatment. Additionally, individuals with mental health challenges present with individualistic barriers decreasing leisure engagement resulting in omission from these benefits. By identifying internal (client-related) and external (environment-related) barriers to leisure participation, enhancement of leisure engagement was targeted to enhance mental health outcomes in inpatient mental health settings. The findings of this project provided implications for current and future mental health treatment approaches for individuals with mental health challenges receiving inpatient treatment.
Hailey Harrington and Gwen Morris
Farriers, or individuals who specialize in the shoeing of horses, navigate a variety of ergonomic challenges. Such challenges have the potential to severely impact their working ability and other major areas of their lives. Early research from Holler (1984) and King (2003) investigated farrier perceptions of hazardous job requirements and tool hazards in relations to strain on their bodies. Additional factors to consider include other external factors such as human and animal interactions, physiological, and psychological factors (Flunker et al., 2020; Gombeski et al., 2017).The purpose of this study is to learn about the ergonomic conditions of farriers and their daily occupations as well as explore the role of OT in addressing the needs of farriers with respect to a lack of existing literature (Holler, 1984; King, 2003; AOTA, 2020; Reitz et al., 2020). The findings may be utilized to set the stage for additional research, as a foundation for program development, and to improve farrier education, ergonomic conditions, and well-being (Reitz et al. 2020).
Occupational Therapy's Role in Transition Planning for Students with Learning Differences and the Significance of the KAWA Model
Rita Marzeena, Jazminne Orozco-Arteaga, and Holly Reed
This capstone project seeks to define the role of occupational therapy in supporting a high school to college and career transition program by providing occupation-based interventions for the unique needs of students in the classroom. Using the KAWA Model, the students begin on a journey of self-discovery to identify the individual supports, strengths and barriers that help them to understand the factors that influence their life. In this process, the KAWA Model attempts to merge the holistic approach that is common in the western themes of occupational therapy with the expectations and trajectory that is common of a secondary student in the US. With this personal knowledge and understanding, students, parents, teachers, and other transition staff can use a database of colleges and narrow the list to ensure a successful match for each student.
Jhannell Hannah Ocampo and Susan MacDermott
The COVID-19 pandemic had an emotional and physical impact on occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students. Students lost access to campus services, social circles, and “safe zones," which may have consequently become traumatic stressors (U.S. Department of Education, 2021; Bridgland et al., 2021). As students transition back to campus, they struggle to navigate and adapt to in-person occupations and how they use their time. Occupational therapists understand the need for meaningful occupations and the symbiotic relationship between their well-being and health (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2020). OTs have an emerging role in the post-secondary education setting, which provides an opportunity to “fill a unique void” on college campuses to promote students’ wellness and health (Keptner & McCarthy, 2020). This capstone utilizes a mixed methods research study to understand how the pandemic affected OT students’ time-use and occupational engagement during the transition to in-person learning. Seventy-three students completed an online survey, which included qualitative and quantitative questions. Twelve participants participated in a follow-up time-use diary and interview. A majority of students reported that they learned effectively in-person and they made time to participate in satisfying occupations. Three themes emerged after the thematic analysis of the qualitative data: time compression, lessons from adapting, and autonomy and choice. The findings provide perspectives on OT students’ ability to adapt and manage their time during this transition.
Charmaine Alexis Pasion and Jazminne Orozco Arteaga
Children with chronic neurological conditions and their families experience various challenges that impact their quality of life and occupational participation as they reintegrate back into their communities (Dumas & Grajo, 2021; Taib et al., 2021). However, rehabilitation for children with chronic neurological conditions focuses on addressing functional impairments and self-care activities rather than transitioning home (Diener et al., 2021). Therefore, children and their families are in need of resources and interventions to address their occupational impact as they return to their occupations (Diener et al., 2021). This capstone research study explored the lived experiences of children with chronic neurological conditions and their families, and identified their occupational impact as they reintegrated back into their communities. A mixed-methods research design was implemented to gather quantitative and qualitative information on caregivers’ perspectives on their children's and their own experiences, along with their occupational impact in self-care, work, education, social participation, and leisure. Twenty-one participants completed online surveys and the University of Washington Caregiver Stress Scale (Amtmann et al., 2020). Nine participants completed an optional virtual interview and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (Law et al., 2014). Following data analysis, the results of this study supported that children with chronic neurological conditions and their families experience negative impacts while participating in their occupations. This research study contributes to the profession of occupational therapy by providing an increased understanding of the experiences of children with chronic neurological conditions and their families as they reintegrate back into their communities.
Eboni Rowe and Lisa Griggs-Stapleton
The Center for Disease and Control (2022) have implemented guidelines for over a decade suggesting a recommended amount of daily physical activity, however a high proportion of children and adolescents in the United States are physically inactive (Mitchell, 2019). Encouraging lots of movement and play can help build a strong foundation in which children understand that being physically active can and should be a healthy habit throughout their lives. Incorporating use of sensory-based occupational therapy can provide a fun and enjoyable approach to functional fitness and promote movement and play, especially for youth who may have special sensory needs. Therefore, the purpose of this capstone was to explore use of sensory-based approaches to functional fitness.
Fiona Tang, Karen Park, Susan MacDermott, and Deja Anderson
Teachers have many instructional, behavioral and classroom management, and administrative responsibilities (Cormier et al., 2021; Hilger et al., 2021; Roeser et al., 2022). There is limited research on occupational therapy's role in teacher wellness. This study aimed to assess the challenges and barriers that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) teachers face, the causes of burnout, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on AAPI teachers' wellness. This study used a mixed methods research design, including an online survey and semi-structured interviews, focused on the challenges, barriers, strengths, and needs that AAPI teachers face in public, middle, and high schools in California. Themes from the data included (1) strengths and challenges as an AAPI teacher, (2) challenges and barriers from a systemic level, (3) the impact of COVID-19 on teachers, and (4) work overload. A strength of AAPI identity was having a cultural connection to AAPI students compared to their non-AAPI colleagues. However, AAPI teachers still face discrimination in the workplace. Teachers reported having a lack of support from administration, funding, and resources to reduce class sizes, increase teacher collaboration, disperse excessive tasks among other staff, and implement more helpful solutions. Results from the findings identify the potential role of occupational therapy in advocating for teacher support, workplace wellness, supporting work performance and satisfaction, implementing burnout-prevention strategies, and promoting teachers' wellness and quality of life.
Brett Taylor, Susan MacDermott, and Jay Gerzmehale
The profession of OT has yet to be widely acknowledged and recognized within the world of sports (Reed, 2011). There is currently a lack of research related to OT's role in working with athletes who have sustained sports-related injuries. Although occupational therapists are currently working with athletes on sports rehabilitation and recovery, there is uncertainty within the profession regarding the presence of occupation-based practice (OBP) in the population of athletes and within the sports rehabilitation setting. The project aims to advocate for the profession of OT in sports rehabilitation and recovery and increase awareness of the importance of OBP when working with athletes who have sustained sports-related injuries. Through an OT lens, understanding OT's current role in sports rehabilitation and exploring the need for OBP within interventions may support the population's needs in returning to their desired sport.
Kelly Toy, Karen Park, and Amanda Amaro
Problem: This research study aims to understand the lived experience of cleft lip and palate (CLP) on mental health, social participation, and leisure to answer the research question: what is the occupational impact of CLP on mental health, social participation, and leisure activity?
Methods: A qualitative mixed methods research design —34 participants for the survey and 12 interviewees. The interviews were conducted through Zoom and lasted 1 hour. This study used thematic analysis to create themes.
Results: 85% of individuals with CLP experienced bullying, all individuals with CLP stated that their mental health was affected because of CLP, and 59% of individuals with CLP had difficulty maintaining or making friends. The three themes identified are occupational deprivation out of the individual’s control, psychosocial impact of CLP, and supporting contextual factors.
Conclusion: CLP affects each individual differently. Some experience more occupational deprivation/disruption than others, but overall, CLP has negatively affected many individuals as a whole. CLP affects their access to occupations, their mental health, and how they perceive or are perceived by others. With the help of support groups, including family and friends, individuals with CLP can create meaningful relationships with others, improve social participation, and have access to opportunities for other leisure occupations.
Christine Truong and Susan MacDermott
Opportunities to engage in leisure activities are limited for women experiencing homelessness (Klitzing, 2004). The purpose of this capstone was to develop a program for a residence serving women who are at risk of homelessness to improve their leisure participation and exploration. The needs assessment involved on-site observations at the Community Mission of Hope and Empowerment Village, literature review, client interviews, and an online questionnaire for volunteers and staff members. Although the program was not implemented due to time constraints and current programming already occurring, future sessions were outlined, and supplies were ordered through a grant to prepare for implementation. The 9-session program was based on the interests of the women at the Empowerment Village, incorporates aspects of wellness, and was proposed to promote more leisure opportunities for the women at the residence.
This collection of SOAR@USA includes the poster presentations from the Fall 2022 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, December 2-9, 2022.
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