Graduation Date


Document Type

Capstone Project

Project Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Program Chair

Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L

Faculty Advisor

Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/L


Dementia Friendly Dining provides skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) with a practice guideline and training resources for caregivers. The program is informed by existing research on environmental modifications, both physical and social, to enhance the occupations of feeding, eating, and dining for individuals with dementia (IwD) in SNF settings. The physical and social environment has a significant effect in supporting the dining experience for IwD and their caregivers (Keller et al., 2015; Hung et al, 2016; Palese et al., 2018), but many facilities have not integrated physical and social modifications, creating a gap in practice. Therefore, an evidence-based dining program that addresses both the physical and social environments, and fits the cultural context of the SNF is needed in order to support dining occupations for individuals with early and middle stage dementia. The Dementia Friendly Dining program materials include: evidence tables that summarize evidence-based practices for caregiver staff and families, a toolkit of familiar and meaningful items to enhance social interactions, an interactive online training module for caregivers, and a user guide for all facility staff with recommendations on how to set-up the environment and facilitate tasks that will enrich the individual’s dining experience. A survey to assess the feasibility and usefulness of the materials was completed by the partnering facility’s rehab director, OT and SLP practitioners, and a content expert. Findings from the survey indicate the materials are feasible and would be an effective tool to implement in the New Braunfels SNF. Program modifications are suggested by the reviewers in order to promote generalization to other SNFs. In addition, programming to support individuals with middle and late stage dementia are suggested. The Dementia Friendly Dining program illustrates the valuable role OT practitioners have as direct providers and consultants in adapting the environment for an organization or population.