Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Gail Ann Hills

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Third Advisor's Name

Michael P. Brady

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to determine the methods and extent to which occupational therapists who are practicing in aging are assessing the caregivers of their elderly patients. A random sample of 500 therapists who subscribe to a special interest group publication of a professional organization were surveyed by mail and 204 responses were received.

Respondents were asked to indicate all of the activities related to caregiver assessments in which they engage. Methods of assessment included: (a) professional caregiving activities, (b) informal assessment methods, and (c) formal assessment methods. There were more than 90% of respondents who indicated that they engaged in at least two professional activities related to caregiving, such as patient and/or caregiver education and discharge planning. Approximately one-third of subjects indicated that formal assessment is performed with a facility created assessment cited as the most frequently used formal instrument. Informal assessment methods were used by all but one subject in the sample. Direct questioning/discussion with caregiver and observation of the caregiver were the most frequently used informal assessment methods at 90% and 93.6%, respectively.

The findings indicate that virtually all occupational therapists are highly engaged in assessing the caregivers of their elderly patients. Most of the assessment being performed relies on their clinical expertise and observation and/or facility created assessments. Furthermore, clinicians are highly engaged in patient and/or caregiver education. It is recommended that more of the body of research related to formal multidimensional caregiver assessment be disseminated into the occupational therapy community.




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).