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, BCG


The purpose of this project is to provide occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) with a Holistic Occupational Therapy Dementia Dining Toolkit to enhance the dining experience in the SNF setting for individuals in all stages of dementia. Dementia is a prevalent condition seen in skilled nursing facilities (SNF) that is expected to continue to rise; in 2016, 47.8 percent of individuals living in a SNF had a diagnosis of dementia (Center of Disease Control, 2020). Dining experiences for individuals with dementia (IwD) are impacted by an individual’s cognition, physical, environmental, and psychosocial factors. Additionally, the task oriented and structured approach to the provision of care and often noisy, crowded communal dining in SNFs contribute to challenges associated with facilitating an individualized dining experience (Milte et al., 2017). Despite the ability of OTPs to improve the occupational performance of IwD in important activities of daily living, like dining, occupational therapy services provided and billed in SNFs are heavily focused on therapeutic exercise and therapeutic activity (Rafeedie et al., 2018). Expanding the focus of current dining related interventions in clinical practice can be accomplished by providing additional resources and programming to OTPs. Implementing holistic interventions that facilitate participation in feeding, one of the longest remaining abilities of IwD, affords OTPs the opportunity to actively expand and transform their current practice patterns, and subsequently the culture at SNFs (Rafeedie et al., 2018). To address this gap in practice, this project culminated in the creation and dissemination of an evidence-based, Holistic Occupational Therapy Dementia Dining Toolkit that empowers OTPs to effectively use their full scope of practice in order to enhance the dining experience of IwD in SNFs.