Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mackenzie Feldhacker, OTD, OTR/L, CLT-LANA


occupational therapy, aquatic therapy, adult rehabilitation, aquatic rehabilitation, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebrovascular Accident, CVA

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Properties of water have been utilized as a therapeutic treatment method for the past 100 years (Becker, 2009). Aquatic-based occupational therapy services are used as an adjunct to traditional land-based occupational therapy intervention (Franken et al., 2013). The OTS developed a 14-week capstone project with assistance provided by faculty and site mentors. The purpose of this capstone project was to develop aquatic-based intervention skills and explore the use and benefits of aquatic-based occupational therapy in patient care. To facilitate appropriate outcomes, three learning objectives with numerous project deliverables were developed. In order to demonstrate competence and understanding of aquatic-based occupational therapy, the OTS obtained certification as an aquatic therapeutic exercise specialist, developed patient education handouts, completed two case studies, and gave a presentation regarding aquatic-based occupational therapy to the Student Occupational Therapy Association at the University of South Dakota. To demonstrate the relationship between land and aquatic occupational therapy, a needs assessment was completed at the host site and culminated with a presentation of findings and formal recommendations to facility occupational and physical therapists. Finally, to disseminate information regarding the benefits of aquatic-based occupational therapy, the OTS wrote an article with faculty mentor for potential publication in the OT Practice magazine. As a result of this Capstone experience, the OTS developed skills and demonstrated competence in providing aquatic-based occupational therapy, as well as assisted the host site in developing a plan for future growth of their aquatic-base occupational therapy programming.