Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Karen Hebert, PhD, OTR/L


Parkinson’s disease, occupational therapy, instrumental activities of daily living, rural healthcare, well-being

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Parkinson’s disease (PD) can cause motor and non-motor difficulties which significantly decrease one’s independence and quality of life. Research has shown the earlier these individuals are diagnosed and subsequently referred for more timely therapeutic intervention, the better their health outcomes. This capstone was designed to develop advanced clinical understanding of the deficits in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) performance early on in disease progression and the role of occupational therapy in PD care. Further, it was designed for program development to specifically address the need for increased care for those with PD in rural communities. Four weeks of the experience were spent at the Center for Neurological Restoration at the Cleveland Clinic, learning about difficulties with IADL performance as prodromal markers of PD and specifically the cognitive aspects that are most problematic in these complex tasks. The following ten weeks were spent at a rural, critical access hospital in Sioux Center, Iowa, implementing a program to educate, motivate, and support those with PD and their caregivers in taking control and continuing to live their best lives. The conceptual framework that guided this capstone experience and project applied the Motor Learning and Task-Oriented Approach and the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement. Occupational therapists can be vital components in providing the best care for these individuals by promoting management, fostering participation in daily occupations, and enhancing overall well-being. Implementing additional programs in rural healthcare is crucial for providing increased care for this rapidly growing population.



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