Graduation Year


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


Approximately two thirds of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) residents in the United States have some form of cognitive impairment such as dementia (Gaugler,, 2014). Care practices in SNFs highlighting safety and therapeutic exercises may further isolate and decrease social opportunities, which can contribute to sensory deprivation in this population and result in lower quality of life (Haigh & Mytton, 2015; Nakamae et al., 2014). COVID-19 visitation restrictions, as well as ongoing barriers of geographical distance, present additional challenges when seeking to engage PLwD residing in SNFs in meaningful social occupations.

Reminiscence has potential to remediate effects of isolation and sensory deprivation among PLwD. (Nakamae et al., 2014) (Lohda & De Sousa, 2019). Ouslander & Grabowski (2020) have looked to virtual visitation as a potential modality to enhance social engagement and minimize physical barriers to visitation for PLwD. With approximately 20% of OTs and 56% of OTAs working in SNFs, occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) have the opportunity to play a critical role in facilitating engagement in social participation (AOTA, 2015; Rafeedie et al., 2018). The Supported Family Visit through Reminiscence (SFVR) intervention is a tool designed to support OTPs in facilitating virtual reminiscence-based visits for PLwD and their loved ones.

The SFVR utilizes a visitation template that is populated with pictures, music, and videos in order to elicit long-term memories that will enhance engagement between the PLwD and visitor. With specific training on dementia, OTPs are in a unique position to promote engagement of social occupations among PLwD in SNFs. By expanding their scope of practice within SNFs, OTPs have the potential to contribute to the remodeling of the culture in SNFs and increase the focus on meaningful interactions, including those that address social occupations (Rafeedie et al., 2018).