Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Dr. Mackenzie Feldhacker
Currently, 50 million people worldwide are affected by major neurocognitive disorder (MND). Those with MND often exhibit behavioral and psychological symptoms that have a significant impact on occupational participation and overall quality of life. Symptoms are frequently treated with anti-psychotics; however, a need for a non-pharmacological approach to alleviate these symptoms is indicated through current research. This 14-week Capstone experience was completed in the memory care neighborhoods at Sunrise Retirement Community in Sioux City, Iowa. Throughout this experience, knowledge related to effective caregiving strategies and sensory based interventions was enhanced, education was provided to memory care staff and occupational therapy students, and a sensory and occupation-based program was created and implemented. Data was gathered through interviews, observations, checklists, and pre and post surveys and quizzes. Significant knowledge was gained regarding OT’s role in the memory care setting and sensory and occupation-based interventions for varying Allen’s Cognitive Levels. Education provided to memory care staff and occupational therapy students was beneficial in enhancing knowledge related to MND and sensory processing challenges. Lastly, the implementation of a dementia-specific program consisting of sensory and occupation-based activities was successful in alleviating negative behavioral and psychological symptoms of MND and improving overall quality of life among participants. This Capstone demonstrated that occupational therapy can be effective in alleviating undesired behavioral and psychological symptoms of MND through utilization of a sensory integration approach and educating caregivers of persons with MND on appropriate caregiving strategies.
Johnson, MaKenzie K., "Improving Quality of Life among Individuals with Neurocognitive Disorders using Occupational Therapy and a Sensory Integration Approach" (2021). Occupational Therapy Capstone Presentations. 56.