Graduation Date


Document Type

Capstone Project

Project Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Program Chair

Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR/L

Faculty Advisor

Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/L


More than 500,000 adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) receive long term care (LTC) in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) (Grabowski, Aschbrenner, Feng, & Mor, 2009). Residents who live in SNFs may experience limited access to meaningful occupations. The SNFs’ institutionalized structure may perpetuate a lack of autonomy and stigma for residents with a SMI (Sullivan & Williams, 2017). Occupational therapy (OT) services provided in a SNF are often limited to therapeutic exercises, therapeutic activities, and activities of daily living skills (Rafeedie, Metzler, & Lamb, 2018). OT practitioners are not utilizing mental health interventions. Although SNFs are not traditionally considered a primary mental health setting, increased numbers of residents with SMI (527 U.S. 581, 1999) have resulted in a need for OT practitioners to redefine their role in the SNF to include mental health interventions. Utilizing effective approaches that consider the residents’ needs and preferences, while accommodating for the rigidity of the SNF environment can improve mental health (Choi, Ransom, Wyllie, 2008). Therefore, this project includes evidence-based mental health assessments and interventions using the recovery approach as a guideline to best practice (Noyes & Lannigan, 2019). Evidence-based assessments and interventions were organized into a toolkit for OT practitioners to use in a SNF and address the needs of the residents with a SMI. The toolkit was presented in a workshop for OT practitioners working in SNFs. The goal of the project is to provide evidence-based tools for OT practitioners to utilize as part of their mental health interventions in SNFs.

Available for download on Thursday, December 01, 2022